Reader Friday: Movie Adaptations Posted on October 11, 2019 by James Scott Bell Murder, My Sweet (1944). Adaptation of Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. Lobby card from the personal collection of James Scott Bell. Used by permission. What’s your favorite novel-to-movie adaptation?
Hunt for Red October because they cut out all the “extra stuff” and it was much easier to follow than the book. Most times, I read the book after I’ve seen the movie, but I don’t watch many movies anymore, so it’s been a very long time. (As you can probably tell from my selection.)
“One flew over the cuckoo‘s nest“… Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and an incredible ensemble cast coupled with a screenplay committed to Ken Kesey‘s incredible novel resulted in my all-time favorite.
Brilliant characters brought to life on the screen by Nicholson, Fletcher, Brad Dourif (The vulnerable stutter Billy Bibbit who was victimized by nurse ratchet), will Sampson as the “chief”, Danny Devito, Christopher Lloyd, and a number of others who hit it out of the park in their supporting roles.
Kesey’s writing reveals both ugly and wonderful aspects of humanity In a story that is an incredible blend of the poignant, hopeful, tragic and comedic.
I wonder if those engaged in creating the movie recognized at the time that it was something very special and would be widely considered a masterpiece?
I met Nicholson backstage at a play when he was about to start filming. I knew that and asked him about it. He knew it was a great script. For years Kirk Douglas tried to get it filmed (he purchased the rights back in 1962, commissioned a B’way play with him in the lead, etc.) but the material was, as they say, ahead of its time. So his son Michael asked for the property and finally the time (1975) and the star (Nicholson) aligned. And the director and actors knocked it out of the park.
What a cool backstory, Jim. Thanks for sharing!
All time: Friendly Persuasion, adaptation of The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West.
The Godfather and The Godfather II. Mario’s book was fabulous. But the movies brought the story alive.
My first “real” job was ushering in a local movie house which played The Godfather all summer. I probably saw it 25 times. Still love it.
I liked the Shinning. Many of the S. King movies don’t use much of the book but the title and the characters.
I was amazed that Jurrasic Park was a PG-13 movie. The book sure isn’t.
The English Patient.
The George C. Scott version of Scrooge. One of my favorite stories and Scott is on the short list of my favorite actors.
“Dr. Zhivago” with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. I read the book first and enjoyed it, but loved the movie because it brought the setting to life for me. That movie haunted me for a long time and it still ranks as one of my all-time favorites
One of my all-time favorites, too. Elevates the story, IMO.
Last night I watched “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Astonishingly good. Tilda Swinton was a revelation. My new favorite. Though I don’t know that anything can truly replace the adaptation of REBECCA starring Olivier.
I agree, Laura. Hitchcock!
Loved The Hunt for Red October.
My current favorite is Hidden Figures, about the black female computers at NASA. It wasn’t a novel, but the movie is great and brought their stories to life for me. Katherine Johnson recently turned 101.
Enemy at the Gates. I bought the book after seeing the movie, and found that the story depicted in the movie occupies only a tiny fraction of the book! Great movie ideas can com in small packages.
No question. Gone with the Wind.