Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Books to Movies

While browsing a few book blogs recently, I came across an interesting challenge that was posted. The challenge was to read a book (or use one that you had already read) and then watch the movie version to compare. I began thinking about some of the books I have enjoyed reading that had either a movie or miniseries based on the novel, and whether or not I liked the movie interpretation. In some cases, I thought the movie version did justice to the book, but in other cases, the interpretations did not match mine or the original plot was altered too much to my liking. For example, I loved reading The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough and have watched the miniseries several times; I thought the book was closely followed and I cry a river of tears every time I watch the miniseries. Another book I read, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LeRoux was made into one of my absolute favorite movies. Obviously, the music score by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the stage translated beautifully on screen and enhanced the story tremendously. On the other hand, I did not care for the movie version of Toni Morrison's Beloved; her writing is richly layered prose with symbolism and allusion which does not translate well to a movie version. I have to laugh whenever I think of the movie version of another favorite book of mine: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. The town was buzzing in 1993 when we learned that filming would begin in New Orleans for the celebrated novel, and we were all horrified, including Anne Rice, when Tom Cruise was cast for the lead role of the vampire, Lestat. Tom Cruise??!! Anne Rice was not amused -- Lestat was her beloved undead creation, and Cruise was NOT her vision and she was quite vocal about her doubts. Some of the scenes were filmed in a plantation home just around the corner from where I lived at the time, and I found myself walking my dog more than usual trying to get a glimpse of either Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, the two most unlikely actors, in the majority's opinion, for these roles. However, when the movie was finally in theatres, most agreed that the two actors had done justice to their characters, and even Anne Rice said she was pleased, so all was well. Gotta love the ending of the movie -- "Sympathy for the Devil." (see playlist at right -- click pop-out)

Click here to find a compilation of over one thousand novels, short stories, and plays that have been made into movies since 1980.


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

This brings to mind whole big kefuffle going on about a movie version of Outlander. Who would star in it, how faithful could it be to the books? They'd have to cut so much out of them. I'm so torn about whether I want a movie version of it or not.

I think GWTW was a great movie from the book and Rebecca was also very good as well. I'm sure I'm forgetting tons out there, but those are two that come to mind. Have you seen the movie Forever Amber? I know you liked the book, just wondering how you liked the movie version. I still have yet to read it, but I want to.

Joanne said...

Hi, Julie -- thanks for stopping by. I know what you mean about the Outlander hullabaloo. I'm torn about the issue, too -- so much depends on the screenwriter, the casting (critical), the director and producer's visions, and the amount of input Diana would have on the creation of the movie. If it's well done, it would be spectacular, but I'm still wary. Think of the Harry Potter movies -- I'm not sure how much creative direction J.K. Rowling had, but I believe the movies have been spot-on and equally as enjoyable as the books. It looks like the Twilight movies are also staying fairly true to the novels. But Outlander fans are a fiesty bunch, and it could be impossible to please everyone on all levels, especially if they miscast Jamie or Claire. Maybe a tv miniseries might be better?

I have a vague memory of a movie version of Forever Amber made in the late 1940's (?) but I have not seen it. I believe the actress cast as Amber was a beautiful, sophisticated model-type actress, which is not really true to the essence of Amber. In the book, although Amber is "a lady of quality," she is raised in a village by country folk and is more of a plump, sensual, seductive young girl -- not beautiful or sophisticated, but very much aware of her power over men. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and find time to get Forever Amber on your "TBR" pile -- and put it at the top. If you enjoyed Through a Glass Darkly, you will love Amber. Although the book ends exactly as it should for Amber, I secretly wish it would have been different. "You can't always get what you want..."

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »