One dreams that in honor of the life and lore of the great Joan Didion, who passed yesterday at age 87…one imagines that an HD scan of Frank Perry‘s 1972 adaptation of Didion’s Play It As It Lays — a film that totally captures the detached Didion mood and vaguely nihilistic disdain she felt about this town — might finally be streamed.

You can watch the movie and read Didion’s book at the same time. They’re almost the same thing.

I accepted a long time ago that this film will never be HD’ed or streamed. Somebody out there really hates it with a passion, and wants it kept on YouTube.

It’s the most curiously arresting film ever made about cold, jaded, corroded Hollywood. Weld’s performance as sad, spaced-out Maria (pronounced Mar-EYE-ah) Wyeth is easily her best ever.

Kim Morgan: “Play It As It Lays floats and swerves and cuts with observations and weirdly timed statements throughout, brilliantly matching the fragmented time fame and switching POV of Didion’s novel, while wandering from place to place and person to person with Maria’s depressed but succinct sensitivities.

“It’s often genius-level, and so the fact that Play It As It Lays was poorly to adequately received at the time (though Roger Ebert loved it) seems unjust to me. Many critics thought it very pretty, and Weld and Perkins fantastic (they are), but very empty (it’s not, and it is, precisely the point). Or that Perry was all wrong for Didion (he’s not).

“Didion’s novel has sometimes single-paragraph sentences, terse observations met with deadpan responses, and Perry visualizes her manner stunningly. And he does so as a Perry film, not just a Didion film — this is what happens when another is helming your own work, even if you write the screenplay — you cannot control your narrative once it’s in the eyes of the other beholder.”

I loved Dominick Dunne‘s Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (Netflix). Well worth watching