J.D. Salinger died Wednesday at the age of 91. His only story given the cinematic treatment was “Uncle Wiggily
in Connecticut.” That short story became the 1949 movie My Foolish Heart,
for which Susan Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award. Salinger was not
pleased with the reworking of his story and subsequently refused to grant the rights of any of his other work to be made into movies.
Although the reclusive author never allowed for The Catcher
in the Rye or any of his Glass Family tales to be adapted for the silver
screen (and apparently, the J.D. Salinger Trust will follow his wishes so don’t
hold your breath), his direct and indirect influence can be traced fairly easily. Here are some films with Salinger connections:
Field of Dreams
The character of the reclusive writer Terrance Mann was actually J.D. Salinger in the source material by W.P. Kinsella.
John Hinkley Jr. seemed to find a connection between the film and The Catcher in the Rye. Reagan's would be assassin was a big fan of both. Travis could be a grown up Holden.
The Royal Tenenbaums
A family of gifted, yet troubled children are at the heart of Salinger's Glass family stories and provided inspiration for the Tenenbaum kids. For a look at the author's influence on director Wes Anderson's work as a whole, check out this
essay from the Museum of the Moving Image.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson has talked about his inspiration for the children's game show as coming from his own work as a P.A. on such a show and his knowledge of the Glass family. "Doing that
[show] really linked up with the J.D. Salinger short stories,
with the Glass Family, and their involvement with a
show like Quiz Kids."
The Last Days of Disco
Dan asks Alice what her dream book to publish would be. She answers a new collection of Salinger stories in the vein of "The Laughing Man" and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. The disoriented preppies in all director Whit Stillman's work would seem to be at home with their post-war counterparts in Salinger's fiction.
Revenge of the Nerds
Salinger's son, actor Matt Salinger, plays Danny Burke in the classic 1980s comedy.
Other Connections: The Graduate, Winter Passing, Finding
Forrester, Dead Poets' Society, Less than Zero, Conspiracy Theory, The Good Girl, Chapter 27, Donny Darko, Igby
Goes Down, Ordinary People