I liked this book. I really did. I loved the setting, and I loved the language. But I really loved the movie. One of the biggest differences for me was the strong 70′s feel. As I was reading the book, I didn’t picture the psychedelic feel that I got with the movie. The scene in which Mabel is killed is much less intense (with a lot more clothes). There’s no gun, instead it’s a toy ship. The movie is more like a comedy than a Hardboiled novel. The characters are less intense, and there’s less sex. The book was on par with Red Harvest, whereas the movie is on par with Madea Goes to Jail. I think I enjoyed the movie more, but only because it was more my personal style. I think it lost a lot of the reputation that the book had, and traded it in for a more Blaxploitation theme.
I see the book as addressing racial segregation and the exploitation of blacks but in a way that is much more serious and questioning. The movie however is more of a satire and instead of making Coffin and Gravedigger seem like badass cops, turns them into laughable characters who make questionable decisions. I think that the era in which each piece was published plays a role in the way in which the issues are addressed. The book, published in 1964 was done in a serious way since it was at the height of the Civil Rights Era, and the issues it was addressing were serious and pressing. This isn’t to say that in 1970, when the movie was released, that the issues weren’t still serious, but at this point it was taking a different turn. Blaxploitation is a far cry from Martin Luther King and his Freedom Marches. Society was changing and the way in which issues were addressed was shifting. I think this is the biggest difference between the book and the movie, just the way in which the same issues where addressed.
Also. That stripper scene with the cotton bale? Yeah. That.