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 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 8:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


The problem with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is that it cuts out the last chapter of the book.


I believe that most of the US printings of the book omitted the final chapter also.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 8:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


The problem with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is that it cuts out the last chapter of the book.


I believe that most of the US printings of the book omitted the final chapter also.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 8:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


The problem with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is that it cuts out the last chapter of the book.


I believe that most of the US printings of the book omitted the final chapter also.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2013 - 10:57 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I'm having trouble posting here tonight too...I hit "Post Message" then wait a couple of minutes only to get a "Bad Gateway" screen...hit back and hit button again and of course we're getting Double/Triple/Onya posts...so yeah, I've learned by my mistake too - just hit it once smile

OK - adaptations....so many to choose from (and I'd be interested to read people's thoughts on the opposite process too! i.e. Book adaptations of films...take a bow, Alan Dean Foster!).

So - sticking with favourites rather than what I think are the best....

1) Carrie - not being a linear book in the first place may have made it more difficult, but the casting is superb, the screenplay sticks very close, and De Palma just "got it". There's a couple of bits missing here and there but to be honest they would probably be better off in Skull Cinema anyway as might have come across forced/dumb on screen. Stephen King books are of course ripe for adaptation, but the stinkers (The Mangler, anybody??) far outnumber the good.

2) The Hunger Games - could (and perhaps should) have been a Twilight-level joke, but there was an unexpected maturity to it...yes, it's a mishmash of several sources but I have to admit that after buying my daughter the DVD of the first one and sitting through it with her, I was hooked...

3) Ben Hur (1959) - whilst the bits that were left out were many, the film is such a feat of filmmaking that sticks true to the book's spirit and scale that it's easy to overlook this. Still a wonderful, wonderful film.

4) Gone With The Wind - for all the reasons you mention above. Monumental.

5) Jurassic Park - I might get some flack for this one...the book has always been a favourite of mine, and the film misses out SO much it's extraordinary...and the film's plot misses the most basic plot point of the book...but if you are going to take a book like this and strip it down to it's bare bones, turn it into a rollercoaster ride of a movie and turn everything up to 11, then this is how to do it.

6) Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban - easily the best film of that particular series (in my opinion), and the game-changing point at which everything became a bit more grown up. Faithful without including everything, the pruning was judicious. An inspired choice of Director! And that score...

I've got so many titles going round in my head now...not even got on to the Exorcists, the Shawshanks, the Apollo 13's yet....

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 12:08 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Great post!! Just to take one of your adaptations - "Ben Hur". Did you read the book by General Lew Wallace (I think that was his name)?

In what way do you consider the film WAS a 'faithful' adaptation of Wallace's book? Was it the narrative thread, the representation of the era, the characterizations, dialogue, scope? What in particular? What parts of the book could have been left out which weren't and vice versa? The role of music is virtually another 'character' in the film and it had a profound influence. Surely this suggests that lending music to a performance would alter our perceptions of the character in a way not depicted in the novel? As Bernard Herrmann suggested once, "music can turn lines into poetry".

Food for thought.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 4:51 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The answer that sprang to mind was The Godfather. Great book, great film, and rather a lot in common!

I'd also like to commend On Her Majesty's Secret Service as well - not exactly Proust or Dickens but a spendiferous adaptation.

Meanwhile, the Hayden Christensen Award goes to Catch 22. A wonderful book and a pretty brave attempt at a film, while not achieving the same level of brilliance.

 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 5:48 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

Oh my good grief - where do I start, Regie?? Haha....

Great post!! Just to take one of your adaptations - "Ben Hur". Did you read the book by General Lew Wallace (I think that was his name)?

Thank you - Yes...something drew me to reading it as a schoolboy - maybe after having seen the film I think...can't really remember if I'm honest...though I still dip into it now and again...my copy is quite well-thumbed!


In what way do you consider the film WAS a 'faithful' adaptation of Wallace's book? Was it the narrative thread, the representation of the era, the characterizations, dialogue, scope? What in particular? What parts of the book could have been left out which weren't and vice versa? The role of music is virtually another 'character' in the film and it had a profound influence. Surely this suggests that lending music to a performance would alter our perceptions of the character in a way not depicted in the novel? As Bernard Herrmann suggested once, "music can turn lines into poetry".

Wow - this is tough to answer thoroughly...the narrative thread glosses over several sections (and completely misses the epilogue) - a lot of what is missed out (and I'm being careful how I phrase this due to board rules) is towards the end of the book as it becomes clear that Jesus is the Messiah, and Judah's change from desperate warrior to follower. If I remember correctly (and I don't sit through the film enough), the character of Iras is entirely missing. There is an enormous amount of descriptive detail in the book (almost all of which would be edited out if the book were released today), which of course just takes a camera shot to achieve on screen...but they needed to be GOOD shots, and boy were they...BUT - as a somewhat generalised view of the situations (Judah's "Death" being one notable exception, as well as the previously mentioned Iras), plot (minus many machinations), feel of the book, William Wylder's film is quite astonishing. It's difficult to think of any more of the book that could have been left out...but I've mentioned Iras more than once and I wonder if that character might have been left in...it's an important character, if only briefly (and has quite a role in the unfilmed epilogue!)

As for your next statement and question that "The role of music is virtually another 'character' in the film and it had a profound influence. Surely this suggests that lending music to a performance would alter our perceptions of the character in a way not depicted in the novel?", there are probably essays out there that can answer this far better than I can in a short post here...but "Yes, Yes and Certainly"!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Excellent, thank you, Mr. Greg. You must be very well read to tackle "Ben Hur" in print! Congratulations.

I guess that when we consider what's omitted from a book we need to move to the next step: what does the director of the film want this to be about and is that actually incompatible with what the novelist intended?

I think of one adaptation in particular: "The Age of Innocence". When I read Edith Wharton's book a few years ago I remember thinking how unflattering a picture the author painted of the central character, Newland Archer and how (thinly veiled) and unflattering picture the FILM painted of Mae Welland. Wharton's characterisation of Newland Archer was of a cold, self-centred man who always had his eye on the next big chance. He was an unappealing character, certainly at the start of the book. The film paints him as 'sympathetic' right at the start, when he jumps to the social support of Madam Olenska. He appears cultivated, intelligent, compassionate and true. The use of music (Bernstein) and the very romantic theme sweeps us along sympathetically with Newland in his quest to adhere to social convention at the expense of his own romantic attachment to Ellen Olenska. The end of the film is the final curtain on that relationship, but he fails to go and see her!! Instead, he sends his son.

What kind of film did Scorsese want to make? I submit that he wanted to show 'old money' in the increasingly urbanized New York society and, as Ellen asks, "why create a new country and then make it merely a copy of another one?" I think one of the main themes of the film - conformity - is contained in that question. Newland is a small cog in that wheel, but the director wanted to show us, up close, how it all worked; how hypocrisy is never far from the surface. But it was essentially a love story and I'm not sure that was the dominant idea which Edith Wharton had in her novel. So, it's not really 'faithful' IMO.

 
 Posted:   Nov 26, 2013 - 8:21 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

Excellent, thank you, Mr. Greg. You must be very well read to tackle "Ben Hur" in print! Congratulations.

Again, thank you - but no, not in the slightest! Haha....I think I was just curious after seeing/reading something, I can't really remember...suspect it may have been after watching the film smile

I guess that when we consider what's omitted from a book we need to move to the next step: what does the director of the film want this to be about and is that actually incompatible with what the novelist intended?

I think of one adaptation in particular: "The Age of Innocence"....


...and there you lose me - a book I've never read, and a film I've never seen.

One film I forgot to put in my original list though - the original "The Invisible Man" wink ...so beautifully realised on-screen, captured the tone so well, and adapted (with, again, some judicious pruning) so well...I know Wells was not too happy with the film, but hey...I love it smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 4:39 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Another great book that made an excellent film was CLOUD ATLAS. A series of interlinking stories resonating over centuries, and veering from period drama to science fiction to knockabout comedy. Filmed brilliantly by Tom Tykwer and one or more Wachowskis, actors play multiple roles to underline the interlinkedness - and the score is sublime, incidentally, and plays its part in the unfolding tale.

I'd seriously recommend reading the book before seeing the film, however, as I don't think it'd be easy to follow what's going on in one viewing otherwise.

TG

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

One film I forgot to put in my original list though - the original "The Invisible Man" wink ...so beautifully realised on-screen, captured the tone so well, and adapted (with, again, some judicious pruning) so well...I know Wells was not too happy with the film, but hey...I love it smile

I love the James Whale version as well, but a much more faithful adaptation was done by the BBC in 1984 and it's excellent. I think it was originally a three part TV movie. The only problem with it is that it was shot on video tape. They should have filmed it.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 6:18 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Quite subjective, as with all these things. However, I think it comes down to your definition of "best". For me, a great adaptation isn't how closely they stuck to the book or play, but how well they took that source material and translated it to the medium of film. How cinematic is the material? Often, alterations must be made for the medium, to provide a good film based on a book or play. Of course, if they completely alter the book's tone or basic story, then that's just as bad as taking a book or play and making a non-cinematic film.

Very much so. Some choices might be evaluated using very different criteria - i.e., how faithful a movie is to the source material, vs. simply how good a movie is that's based on a book or play, regardless of whether it's particularly faithful or not.

No one has mentioned anything adapted from Shakespeare yet. Surely not everyone here thinks there's never been even one decent version of any of his works; are others simply not thinking of books and plays from that far back (or even earlier)?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 6:39 AM   
 By:   nerfTractor   (Member)

I agree with those who mentioned CARRIE, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and THE AGE OF INNOCENCE already. Fine films all of them.

Most of my favorite films seem to be based on plays. Here are a few that are very very special to me:

AMADEUS
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
'NIGHT MOTHER
CRIMES OF THE HEART
SLEUTH
STEEL MAGNOLIAS
THE DRESSER
WIT
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
DOUBT

And for novel adaptations, there is of course the Forster triumvirate A ROOM WITH A VIEW, MAURICE and HOWARDS END.

A few more based on novels or books of nonfiction for your consideration:

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
LONESOME DOVE
MASTER AND COMMANDER: FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
FEARLESS
JAWS
A CRY IN THE DARK
THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE

Honorable mention to MURDER BY DEATH which seems like it ought to be a play, but which Neil Simon actually wrote directly for the screen.

Each of these movies is one I have returned to again and again, especially the ones based on plays. I guess I just really respond to the heightened language and opportunity that the actors have to really dig deep.

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   kingtolkien   (Member)

The Shawshank Redemption
Misery
Schindler's List
Jaws
Carlito's way
Disagree about The Lord Of the Rings. The first one maybe, but not the rest.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

My first thought is "Rosemary's Baby".

Agreed. I didn't read the book until the mid 1990s, and my first thought after I was a third into it was, "This is just like the movie. I might as well be reading the shooting script."

Here's a recent article on this subject. I like this one because my two favorite novels are included, though they are in strange company.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/nov/15/top-10-movie-adaptations

And here's an even longer list:

http://www.totalfilm.com/features/50-best-book-to-movie-adaptations


Any article that does not include Rosemary's Baby is written by an idiot. While I would agree that To Kill a Mockingbird captures the essence of Harper Lee's novel, it leaves out many things. Rosemary's Baby, the FILM, is literally the BOOK. There is, I believe, only one short sequence that's in the book that's missing from the film (seeing The Fantasticks - it's in the script and was shot but removed), but every line of dialogue in the film is from the book and even the descriptions are in the film - I'd always thought the weird Polanski-esque thing of the worker drilling an eye-hole in an apartment door at the beginning of the film was peculiar to Polanski - it's in the book.

When I told Ira Levin that I thought it was the best book to screen adaptation ever done and that nothing would ever touch it or be that faithful, he told me that Polanski thought he HAD to use everything from the book - it was his first script in the US and he thought he wasn't allowed to change anything. Thank heaven, because the book is brilliant and so it the completely faithful film. There is not one other book to film adaptation that is within a country mile of it in terms of being completely the book.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 5:06 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

"Rosemary's Baby" is, indeed, a fine adaptation. But it is not so plot-detailed as many novels or plays are and, in that sense, was easier to make choices about. It's essentially a psychological thriller as much as anything and the nuances of manipulation, fear and terror were what drove the film rather than narrative per se.

(I'm not so fond of the moniker of "idiot" for people who've simply overlooked a film or a particular idea. You are not Shakespeare and you are not writing "Macbeth" and FSM is not "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"!!)

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 5:13 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

The early to mid-1970's saw a handful of terrific ones.

The Andromeda Strain
The Godfather
The Exorcist
Jaws

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 10:33 PM   
 By:   Storyteller   (Member)

I love this movie so much it almost hurts.




Maybe not a perfect adaption, but as close as I believe anyone would get from this very difficult source material.

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2013 - 10:40 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Mr. Greg: Your long posting above about the differences in William Wyler's "Ben-Hur" and the book and characters he dropped from his script makes me curious what you thought of the 2010 mini-series remake shown a couple of years ago (and probably about to be re-shown again as we approach the holidays). I was startled by Ben-Hur's Jewish rival for Esther, his lady love, and how he was just as instrumental in sending him to the galleys as was Messala, his traitorous boyhood friend. I suspect you wouldn't have cared for Joseph Morgan, the Everyman sort of actor chosen to portray Ben-Hur rather than someone big and imposing like Charlton Heston. But there is far more detail in it. Some of the cast:

Joseph Morgan -- Judah Ben-Hur
Stephen Campbell Moore -- Messala
Emily VanCamp -- Esther
Kristin Kreuk -- Tirzah
Ben Cross -- Emperor Tiberius
Simón Andreu -- Simonides
Alex Kingston -- Ruth
James Faulkner -- Marcellus
Art Malik -- Ilderim
Marc Warren -- David
Lucía Jiménez -- Athene
Miguel Ángel Muñoz -- Antegua
Kris Holden-Ried -- Gaius
Michael Nardone -- Hortator
Eugene Simon -- Young Ben Hur
Toby Marlow -- Young Messala
Daniella Ereny -- Young Tirzah
Ray Winstone -- Arrius
Hugh Bonneville -- Pilate
Julian Casey -- Jesus

 
 Posted:   Nov 28, 2013 - 12:53 AM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

Mr. Greg: Your long posting above about the differences in William Wyler's "Ben-Hur" and the book and characters he dropped from his script makes me curious what you thought of the 2010 mini-series remake shown a couple of years ago (and probably about to be re-shown again as we approach the holidays).

Never seen it...keep meaning to catch up with it...thanks for the prompt smile

 
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