Mississippi Matinee an Exhibition of the State and the Silver Screen
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Introduction: Thomas Harris (2)
In the fall of 1979, Harris returned to the Mississippi Delta for eighteen months during his father's last illness.  A neighbor loaned him the use of a shotgun house in the middle of a cotton field where Harris created a new subgenre of serial killer thrillers.  Red Dragon (1981) introduces the character of Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned cannibal prevailed upon by his FBI captor to assist in the hunt for "The Tooth Fairy" killer.  Harris sold the paperback rights to Bantam Books for one million dollars.  On display is a signed advance reading copy of this paperback edition which compares Red Dragon to two other Bantam bestsellers later adapted to the screen — Jaws and The Exorcist.  Michael Mann wrote and directed the 1986 film version of Harris' novel titled Manhunter, which performed poorly at the box office. 
The film sequel — The Silence of the Lambs (1991) starring Anthony Hopkins as Lecter and Jody Foster as a novice FBI agent — earned $100 million dollars in its first year and saved the movie company Orion from bankruptcy.  The film also achieved critical success, sweeping the "Big Five" at the Academy Awards:  "Best Screenplay," "Best Director," "Best Picture," "Best Actor," and "Best Actress."  In fact, Hopkins won the Oscar with the shortest amount of screen time on record (sixteen minutes).   [go to page 3 >>]

Online exhibition © copyright 2006
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