Here are the best on-screen crimes adapted from novels
"Killing Them Softly," opening Friday, stars Brad Pitt as Jackie Cogan, a mob enforcer hired to enact revenge on the perpetrators of a card game robbery. It's based on the 1974 George V. Higgins novel, "Cogan's Trade." Scores of other films have been adapted from crime novels, of course. Here are some of the best.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939): Holmes. Watson. The eerie English moors. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sure knew his stuff.
Double Indemnity (1944): From the James M. Cain novel, this film about adultery and murder, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, is one of the classic film noirs.
The Big Sleep (1946): Private eye Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) goes after murderers and blackmailers in this great movie, adapted from the Raymond Chandler work.
They Live By Night (1948): The original "young criminal lovers on the run" flick, from the Edward Anderson novel.
High and Low (1963): The great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa adapted Ed McBain's "King's Ransom," about an executive who prepares to pay a ransom for his kidnapped son, then finds it's actually his chauffeur's kid who has been abducted. What to do?
In the Heat of the Night (1967): John Ball's novel was turned into this Oscar-winning film, with Sidney Poitier as Philly detective Virgil Tibbs and Rod Steiger as a small-town Southern sheriff, reluctantly collaborating on a murder investigation.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973): Robert Mitchum gives one of his greatest performances in this tale of lowlife Boston hoods based on a George V. Higgins opus.
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995): Denzel Washington dazzles in this noir set in 1940s L.A., from a book by Walter Mosley.
L.A. Confidential (1997): James Ellroy's massive novel is turned into a killer, Oscar-nominated flick, featuring Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Oscar-winning Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger.
Jackie Brown (1997): Quentin Tarantino's take on Elmore Leonard's "Rum Punch" isn't totally faithful to the book, but it is true to the novel's spirit, and to Leonard's funky style.