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In the supermarket checkout lane yesterday, I noticed a prominent magazine’s cover pushing the Fifty Shades of Grey film:

FSoGElle

A film adaptation due for 2015 release? I suppose that should not be a surprise. After all, the book was a massive seller.

We are friends, and (of course) earnest and serious people here. :-) Let me say, I have not read it; and, indeed, I knew very little about it. But it has been background noise for a couple of years as an extremely risqué story.

In fact, I recall several women I know having referred to it with a giggle (usually derisively) as “Mummy p*rn.” Hearing that, and being a guy, I wasn’t going to ask for details. (Are you kidding?) So I knew almost nothing about its actual plot or main characters…. beyond the “Mummy p*rn” stuff.

After I got home from the store, I finally looked the book up on Wikipedia:

….While he purchases various items including cable ties, masking tape and rope, Ana informs Christian that Kate would like some photographs to go along with her article about him….

Errr. Hmmm. Uh, okay….

Well, I also don’t feel as badly here devoting a post to it, having learned via that Wikipedia page that even one Sir Salman Rushdie has an opinion on it:

“I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published. It made ‘Twilight’ look like ‘War and Peace.'”

We all know not every book is everyone’s cup of tea. And clearly the likes of Sir Salman are not the Fifty Shades author’s target audience. Also it is perhaps worth recalling that Sir Salman’s most famous work has itself been accused of being “unreadable.”

Fifty Shades’s literary qualities aside, the track record for such film efforts is decidedly not encouraging. So we can only but wish best of luck to the filmmakers who are aiming to bring that tale to the screen. Because it seems highly unlikely any filming of that story can end up “middling.”

The gut says the film must turn out either to be superbly done, artistic and earn movie-making acclaim…. or end up as another, say, Showgirls – another supposed-to-be “super sexy” film (which next year will have been released, ironically, 20 years ago), but which turned out to be a critical disaster and is now considered “one of the worst films ever made.”

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UPDATE, March 26: The Guardian:

Early footage of the film of EL James’ bestselling books has disappointed, with the S&M toned down in favour of romance

It’s not a huge shock filmmakers seem to have gone the “tame” route. Given the story and what they would therefore appear to have been required to put on screen, that is probably much the wiser filmmaking decision. In comparison, as we know, books rely far more on …. a reader’s imagination….