SAINT JACK (1979) – Directed by Peter Bogdanovich and based on the novel by Paul Theroux, this movie is almost impossible to categorize. The Coen Brothers once said their film Barton Fink defied genre assignment, and if so then the same can be said for Saint Jack. It’s part gangster movie, part expat slice of life, part sex comedy and part failed political commentary. Kinda Hot, a book about the guerilla making of Saint Jack is loaded with even more sex and drama than the film itself.
Before I move on to story details, let me also point out how the creative forces behind the movie may well represent the most unlikely alliance imaginable. It’s produced by Roger Corman and directed by Peter Bogdanovich by way of his then-girlfriend Cybill Shepherd’s snagging of the novel’s film rights as part of a legal settlement with Playboy magazine. Oddest of all, Shepherd wanted the film rights ever since reading the Paul Theroux novel on the recommendation of … Orson Welles. And this was long before Welles appeared on Moonlighting with Cybill. Continue reading