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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From Page to Picture

The 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel

While watching a movie that has been adapted from a book, have you ever wondered what the author thinks of the film? Do they approve of the choice of actors? Are they displeased/pleased with the deletion of scenes? Dialogue alterations? Are they happy with the musical score? How much say did the author have in any of these choices?

The movie version of Stephen King's The Dark Half  led me to decide not to watch movie versions of books I'd read. The screen versions of Stephen King's books cannot do justice to his creepy, angst filled, psychologically wacky characters. In one interview with King he said he was disappointed with how Stanley Kubrick directed The Shining, that Kubrick "just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel."  He also didn't like Jack Nicholson’s performance. In the book, Jack Torrance didn't go crazy until he got to the hotel and King felt that Nicholson made the character crazy right from the start. I don't recall that detail but I do remember not wanting to turn lights out at night after reading a chapter of The Shining, and cringing over Nicholson's maniacal acting skills. (or maybe he wasn't acting!)

I admit to breaking my book-but-not the-movie rule, several times actually. As with the 1985 film version of Out of Africa. I'd read Isak Dinesen's memoir, pen name used by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, (1885 –1962), years before the film and was so taken by her writing I had to see the movie. Hollywood's depiction of the grandeur of Kenya would likely be the closest I'd ever get to that country.

Out of Africa is a multifaceted romance;  the baroness loved Africa, she loved her farm and the native tribes and she dearly loved big game hunter, Denys Finch Hatton. It's a gorgeous movie that aptly and beautifully supports Ms. Dinesen's book. And the musical score is simply breathtaking. All in all, the film is an excellent screen adaptation of a book.
Some of the other book-and-movie pairings I broke my rule for are below. They're "rated" from:
Should've Stuck To My Rule (!) to I Could Sit Through This Again (!!!!)

~  To Kill A Mockingbird !!!!
~  the Twilight series   !!
Misery  (S. King)  !!!!
~  Papillon !!!!
Jane Eyre !!, !!! and !!!! 

     (there have been several  film versions since the first in 1943 with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine)
~ at least one of the 21 film versions of Jane Austen's six most well known novels (that's got to be a movie
               adaptation record) ! to !!!!

Jane Austen....would she approve of how directors and producers transformed her novels into films or be a naysayer of their works?



~ films adapted from Shakespeare's works that keep to his time period and dialogue 
        rate a !!! and !!!!  The  1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing is my favorite.
~ Of Mice and Men.......1939
!! and 1992 !!!

~ A Christmas Carol; not a fan of the film versions I've seen, but the 1984 television version with George C. Scott as Scrooge gets a !!

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon's first book in her Outlander series, now a TV series, is one I read back when it was released in 1991. I watched one episode and probably won't watch another.The acting just didn't captivate me enough to be a fan of this series.

One of my favorite films of 2014 is Divergent. I've been told it accurately follows the book, which must make Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent Series, very happy. I'd surely do a happy dance if one of my books made it to the screen, just as I'd written it! 

Any favorite books-made-into-movies of your own? Any that deserve no more than a ! ?


Kelley Heckart said...

I liked the Lord of the Rings movies better than the books. I'm sure I'm going to get yelled at for that comment. :)

Carly Carson said...

I couldn't watch the Rings movies because I didn't want to hurt my love of the books. But now I want to watch Out of Africa.

Rose Anderson said...

Fun post. I also enjoyed the Lord of the Rings better on the big screen. The Hobbit not so much -- too cartoonish. I agree on the Jane Austen stories, many Shakespeare works too. The book Practical Magic gave me brain whiplash and I couldn't finish it, but the movie with Sandra Bullock was cute. There was a mini series based on the book Pillars of the Earth. I recommend that one.

Cara Marsi said...

Interesting post, Polly. I usually am afraid to watch the movie version of a beloved book because the movies seldom do justice to the books. I loved the Outlander series, but the first episode the other night disappointed me. It was very sluggish for the first 30 minutes. But I will watch all episodes. The book is very big and unfolded slowly too, but I loved it. Didn't love the slow pace of the movie. Maybe I have different expectations of movies than I do of books. I can't think of any other movies that disappointed.

Sandy said...

Gone With The Wind was a favorite movie, and I believe it was as good as the book.

Tina Donahue said...

I thought Ordinary People was a great adaptation of the book.

Melissa Keir said...

Movies and books have always gone hand in hand. Even look at the tons of Biblical movies- including the new Noah movie. I also believe that we (authors) should have a say in our books as far as being made. I hated the Sookie Stackhouse series because it derailed from the books. In some ways, I'm glad they didn't make some other books into movies.

Melissa Keir said...

Movies and books have always gone hand in hand. Even look at the tons of Biblical movies- including the new Noah movie. I also believe that we (authors) should have a say in our books as far as being made. I hated the Sookie Stackhouse series because it derailed from the books. In some ways, I'm glad they didn't make some other books into movies.

Judy Baker said...

Gone with the Wind is my favorite and loved the book, which I've read a couple of times. Lord of the Rings was a favorite too, but I think I enjoyed the movie more. Another book to movies was The The Chronicles of Narnia that enjoyed.

vicki batman said...

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of my favorites. I love Bridget Jones's Diary too. But what was done to My Sister's Keeper was outrageous. I even cried out at the theater. My friend patted my arm. I decided not right now to watch Outlander. Just not ready, I guess.

Lynda Bailey said...

A fascinating post! I haven't seen or even thought of Out of Africa in years...but now I want to watch it again. ;) I personally thought the Harry Potter movies were decent - not great, but decent.

Polly McCrillis said...

About Lord of the Rings film series: I watched the first but none of the others. I just couldn't get immersed in the on-screen version of Tolkien's world.

Polly McCrillis said...

Rose, I hadn't heard of the mini series based on Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett's book, I assume you're talking about? I didn't read it, although I like his writing so I may have to give the series a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

Polly McCrillis said...

Haven't seen Gone With The Wind in many years, but I do remember it sticking close to Margaret Mitchell's classic. Must have been quite the challenge to the filmmakers back then, not having the use of special effects, CGI, etc. that we have now.

Polly McCrillis said...

Vicki, you're so right about Du Mauirer's Rebecca! Outstanding book, excellent movie. Joan Fontaine, Lawrence Olivier and Judith Anderson as the off-balanced Mrs. Danvers. Add all that talent to Alfred Hitchcock's directing and it's a masterpiece.

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting post...I loved Outlander, don't think I'll spoil it by seeing it on TV. LOVED Lord of the Rings, both print and movie. Mostly I think the movies can't capture the nuances of the book.

Polly McCrillis said...

I agree, Jean, about movies not capturing all the nuances of a book. Interesting how no one has mentioned the Harry Potter books and movies. I read only the first in the series and saw a couple of the movies. They seemed to do a good job of keeping true to the book and characters.

Paris said...

Interesting post! I loved both the book and the movie, "Gone With The Wind". On the other side of the spectrum, I didn't think "True Blood" did the books any justice. On the other hand, I tried to read "Outlander" when it first came out and couldn't get into it. I saw the first installment and was impressed. I might go back and try reading it again:)

Polly McCrillis said...

Oops, I forgot Lynda mentioned the Harry Potter movies as"decent". I agree with that rating. Sometimes a movie will spark my interest in wanting to read the book but I talk myself out of it; why read the book when I already know the gist of the story?

Melissa Keir said...

I read the book The Last Convertible after seeing the television movie. I loved the movie so much and the book captured my love as well. I had found the book just sitting on a shelf of my mom's.

A favorite author of mine decided Not to put her books in a movie or television series. I think she was right on that because they were going to change things. It's why I never could get into the True Blood was too different than my beloved books.

Polly McCrillis said...

I've not heard of the Last Convertible, Melissa, but you've got me interested, in both the movie and the book. Thanks!

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