Jason Kottke has a list on his blog today of movie adaptations of books and which he has seen/read.
Personally, I have had too many horrible experiences of movie adaptations almost obliterating the beautiful mental imagery I had of favourite books.
So, who wants to make another list with me of movies adaptations where warnings should be given to anyone who has actually *read* the book that watching the movie will irrepairably alter their relationship with said book.
I’ll start: 1. The English Patient, 2. Possession, 3. Oscar & Lucinda ,4. Portrait of a Lady
Bring it on. (no, not the movie. That’s a call to action)
5 thoughts on “abominable movie adaptations of books (via Kottke)”
The Long Goodbye
The Great Gatsby
Gangs of New York
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Bonfire of the Vantities
Romeo Juliet (Baz Luhrman)
84 Charing Cross Road
The Name of the Rose
Schindler’s List – Speilberg’s sentimentality is unbearable!
Every adaptation of Thomas Hardy, ever,
and of course, “Risk”. :(
Adaptations where the movie improved on the book/story:
The Right Stuff (Sam Shephard, yum)
The Bourne Identity
2001 – tedious tedious book, interesting movie
Duel – not so great story, great directing debut
Jaws – not terribly interesting as a book, very well directed film
Gone With The Wind
The Princess Bride
The Verdict – bland story, elevated by Paul Newman
Cool Hand Luke – ditto
The Big Sleep (1946) – incomprehensible plot, but Bogart and Bacall!
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – more Bogart, from an unremarkable novel
Movies where it wasn’t an improvement, exactly, but where the movie was suitably indelible all on its own:
The Last Picture Show
A Clockwork Orange
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
All The President’s Men
Wuthering Heights (1939) – Larry Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and has the grace to only tell the first half of the story
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (really nowhere near as good as the book, but has some suitably impressive moments, and the advantage of tres gorgeous young Daniel Day Lewis).
The Comfort of Strangers (1990)
that’s an outstanding list, Rachel, and from what I’ve read/seen, I pretty much agree with you.
Although, I have a bit of a soft spot for Short Cuts. (Didn’t know it was a book tho’)
I notice you picked last year’s Pride & Prejudice over the Colin Firth (aka BBC) edition. Brave choice. (I know, v. Bridget Jones of me to bring that up… ah, and there’s another book/film… appalling, improvement? heh. No one will admit to reading/seeing it, I’m sure.)
For me, Unbearable Lightness of Being belongs in the top (crapola) category.
Now, where’s Melissa? I was sure she’d have strong opinions on this topic…
“Short Cuts” was adapted from a series of Raymond Carver short stories. What’s interesting about Carver isn’t the events he writes about, so much as the *way* he does it.
Although “So Much Water So Close to Home” is pretty good so far as the events side of things goes, and has inspired a whole bunch of other people to write songs and movies. Wow, that’s an astonishingly great story.
Also, yeah, you’re right about “Unbearable Lightness of Being’ being fairly crap. It’s just that I have a terrible, terrible weakness for Daniel Day Lewis at that age. ;)
One combination I’d put into your third group is ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ – the movie took a slice of the book, and turned the focus around a little, but I thought captured part of the essence of the Chie’f story, and was a hell of a movie on it’s own (OK – I’ll admit I’m a Nicholson fan!)
Comments are closed.