Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum

(pb; 1980: first book in the Jason Bourne series)


A wounded man, rescued from the sea, discovers that he is more than he initially thought, and finds himself hunted by various agencies and people, not the least of whom is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka the Carlos the Jackal (who, by the way, is a real-life assassin).

This is classic Ludlum: Bourne, like most of Ludlum's protagonists, is well-developed, as are all of the characters in this novel. These personalities further convolute an already complex, international-in-scope plot, resulting in some memorably slick action sequences amidst detailed settings.

Bourne's initially-unwilling female companion, Marie St. Jacques, is a great foil to Bourne, and complements him in a romantic-but-not-annoyingly-so way.

Hairpin, often surprising, twists highlight this novel, making this a delight to read.

Followed by The Bourne Supremacy.

This novel has been filmed twice, first as a mini-series, later as a theatrical release.

The television mini-series version, bearing the name of its source novel, aired on American television on May 8, 1988.

Roger Young directed the mini-series, from a script by Carol Sobieski.

Richard Chamberlain played Jason Bourne. Jaclyn Smith played Marie St. Jacques. Anthony Quayle played Gen. François Villiers. Donald Moffat played David Abbott. Yorgo Voyagis played Carlos. Peter Vaughn played Fritz Koenig. Denholm Elliott played Dr. Geoffrey Washburn.

The theatrical film was released stateside on June 14, 2002.

Matt Damon played Jason Bourne. Franka Potente played Marie St. Jacques. Chris Cooper played Alexander Conklin. Clive Owen played The Professor. Brian Cox played Ward Abbott. Gabriel Mann played Danny Zorn. Walter Goggins played "Research Tech".

Doug Liman directed the film, from a script by Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron (billed as William Blake Herron).

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