Page 1 of 3

Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:54 am
by paisley
Hi,

I recently ordered Tess, the 2003 BBC series off the net and enjoyed watching it after reading the book ( although the book and the series were not completely the same story!)

I saw Much Ado About Nothing with Emma Thompson in the 90's, loved it. So I decided to find it online and buy it.

As I was browsing amazon, I wondered if you fine folks from England would have favorite books that have been made into movies? You must! Maybe you could recommend something??

Which is the best Hamlet version, for example? And Midsummer's night or Twelfth? Or....

Was Babette's Feast as good as they said?


I would enjoy hearing reviews of opinions before I order more Saturday night DVD entertainment.


Thanks.

Warmly,
Suzanne, wink

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:21 am
by Nash
Hi Suzanne,

Film adaptations are usually disappointing aren't they? It's difficult to portray a novel well in the two hours or so of the average film, they usually end up a bit choppy in my opinion.

The best Hamlet has to be the recent production directed by Gregory Doran of the RSC with David Tennant in the lead role. I missed it on stage but I caught it when it was on TV. I really wasn't looking forward to it because of David Tennant (I hate Dr Who with a passion), but I totally misjudged it, it was great.

The BBC have done a few adapations of Dickens recently which were enjoyable. They serialised them and put them in the the half hour slots usually reserved for soap operas which I thought worked well. Oliver Twist (with Tom Hardy as a really menacing Bill Sykes), Bleak House (with Gillian Anderson), and Little Dorrit (with Claire Foy).

Talking of Tom Hardy, he also played Heathcliffe in a recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights which wasn't too bad.

You might like the 1995 BBC series of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth as Darcy), not my sort of thing at all, but it was generally thought of as being good, I know that my wife really enjoyed it.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:47 pm
by paisley
Thank you very much, Nash. You have given me a string of titles to browse.
I appreciate the rime you took to tell me about them.

Suzanne

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:14 am
by k-j
Nathanel West's Day of the Locust - book and film both in my top five.

Hamlet: I saw Kenneth Brannagh's version yonks ago and really liked it. Not so keen on Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation but Bonham-Carter does make a good Ophelia. I'd love to see Doran's version with Tennant, I think he'd make a decent Hamlet.

Does Apocalypse Now --> Heart of Darkness count? If so, that's my favourite adaptation.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:56 am
by brianedwards
k-j wrote: Does Apocalypse Now --> Heart of Darkness count? If so, that's my favourite adaptation.
Yes. And ditto.

The Thin Red Line is a pretty astonishing adaptation too.

Slightly off-topic I know . . . best Shakespeare adaptation? Branagh's Hamlet and Henry V are both excellent, pretty faithful to the Bard and hard to beat in the English language.
Kurosawa's Ran is a Japanese rendering of King Lear and is, for my money, the best screen adaptation of Shakespeare: pure cinema.

Baz Luhrman's Romeo & Juliet anyone? Or West Side Story?

B.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:13 am
by paisley
Thank you k-j and B.

That is just the sort of replies I was hoping for.
Helena Bonham-Carter played Ophelia in Hamlet with Mel Gibson and it was Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation, did they just upgrade leading men with Kenneth B.?

That it is interesting.

I never saw Midsummer's night dream with that big eyed blond Michelle Phiefer, did you think that was good?


The thin red line and Day of the locust, I shall take a peek at those titles. the Apocalypse... well, I will look and read, as it is so highly recommended.
Thank you very much for the reply.

Suzanne

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:50 am
by David
I've just ordered Day of the Locust. Will read it in situ. Big holiday coming up!

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:51 pm
by Raincoat
Hi Paisley,

there is another adaption of Tess - again the ending is different to the book but the cinematography is great - it's by Roman Polanski and think it won a few Academy awards (and the actress is amazing). Far from the madding crowd is another good Hardy book to film (1967) the songs, the photography, the actors are really good.

Tess

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:30 am
by John G
LA Confidential was a good effort.

Two “un-filmable” books I think had mixed results – Clockwork Orange was good – Naked Lunch not so good.

Catch 22 – I’ve read the book but never seen the film. Anyone care to enlighten me? Is it worth watching?

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:27 pm
by Nash
Clockwork Orange was a good adaptation. Do you think it's lost any of its power now that it's so accessible? I have fond memories of straining my eyes trying to watch it on a fuzzy VHS with German subtitles back when it had the mystique of being banned.

The film of Catch-22 isn't bad, it's been years since I've seen it, but I seem to remember that it captures the feel of the book pretty well.

What do people think about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? I thought it was fantastic book and a fantastic film but I don't neccessarily think that it was a great adaption.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:44 pm
by Raincoat
Def agree John about Naked Lunch. Watched it about a month ago with my sister. We couldn't decide whether to give up on it or just keep going, the main actor was so one-dimensional and it was so bloody long. One flew over the cuckoo's nest I watched but didn't read, Jack is one of my favourites I think, but whenever I think of that film I always think of a great spoof Spaced did of nurse ratched:


Re: Books to Film

Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:08 am
by Nash
Spaced was a great series wasn't it?

If you liked the film of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest then I'd definitely recommend the book, it really is quite amazing. The whole story is narrated by The Chief.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:58 am
by brianedwards
Good point about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Nash. Definitely one that escapes the Good Book/Bad Film:Bad Book/Good Film rule of thumb.
But is it a good adaptation? The film is great in a very different way from which the book is great. It extracts from the story a strong narrative and tells it in a conventional narrative-cinema style, whereas, as I remember it, the language of the book is what makes it such a satisfying read. Though the book is exciting and challenging prose, the film version does not push the medium, isn't very cinematic, in a pure sense.


B.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:25 am
by poetgirl
brianedwards wrote:Good point about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Nash. Definitely one that escapes the Good Book/Bad Film:Bad Book/Good Film rule of thumb.
But is it a good adaptation? The film is great in a very different way from which the book is great. It extracts from the story a strong narrative and tells it in a conventional narrative-cinema style, whereas, as I remember it, the language of the book is what makes it such a satisfying read. Though the book is exciting and challenging prose, the film version does not push the medium, isn't very cinematic, in a pure sense.


B.
I also agree with the film being great in a very different way than the book. I read the book first as a teenager and it was a very powerful read for me, found it absolutely amazing. After that the film was a bit of a dissapointment at first watch, but after seeing it again I found it´s merits just to be different from the book. But for me the book is still definitely more satisfying and recommend reading it to everyone.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:29 am
by camus
Well I'm very much looking forward to this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454876/

But Toby Maguire as Pi? Oh dear me. Perhaps Ang Lee should take a leaf out of Ken Loach's , or Shane Meadow's book and find an unknown actor to play Pi. I'm sure there are thousands nay a million young Indian lads who would welcome the chance. Bloody Hollywood.

I've gone off the idea now.

On that note, who enjoyed Life of Pi? It seems to be a love it or hate it kinda book? Personally I loved it. Read it, then got the audio book for the school run, Lou my lad was engrossed, says it's his favourite book.

Strike that, just noticed - Suraj Sharma is to play Pi. Who's Toby Maguire then? Richard Parker?

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:53 am
by Suzanne
I loved the book! An audio of it sounds like a great idea. I think I'll do that, too.
Thanks for posting about the movie, I really look forward to it.

Suzanne

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:38 pm
by delph_ambi
Three superb Shakespeare adapatations:

1) The old 1935 Max Reinhardt version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the most unlikely cast (James Cagney as Bottom, Dick Powell as Lysander, etc) but it works; utterly beautiful cinematography, and it uses Mendelssohn's music.

2) Also excellent, Tennant's Hamlet as recommended earlier in this thread.

3) Best of them all, Patrick Stewart as Macbeth, directed by Ruper Goold (2009). Quite the most powerful film of a play I have ever seen.

Best Jane Austen adaptations: 'Clueless' - the 1995 version that sets 'Emma' in Beverly Hills; and Gurinder Chadha's delightful 'Bride and Prejudice' (2004), a Bollywood style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Other favourites: the 1942 adaptation of James Hilton's 'Random Harvest' with Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson. Takes huge liberties with the book, but it has to, as the book doesn't give away a key point until the very last page, but that's impossible to do in cinema as the viewer can 'see' what's going on in a way the reader can't.

David Lean's versions of 'Oliver Twist' and 'Great Expectations'. I loathe Dickens, but these are excellent films.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:13 pm
by David
delph_ambi wrote:David Lean's versions of 'Oliver Twist' and 'Great Expectations'.
Agreed. The George Cukor David Copperfield is pretty good too.
delph_ambi wrote: I loathe Dickens,
Oh dear.
delph_ambi wrote:but these are excellent films.
True. The Beeb's recent Bleak House adaptation was also excellent.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:47 pm
by David
David wrote:The Beeb's recent Bleak House adaptation was also excellent.
Oops. As also recommended by Nash, I see.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:42 pm
by Nash
Completely agree with you on David Lean's Dickens films, excellent. As were those BBC adaptations too.

I've just watched the recent adaptation of Brighton Rock. Loved the book, loved the 1947 film version, wasn't really expecting to like this new one.

It wasn't at all bad actually. The cinematography was beautiful, some of the performances were very good. As with most adaptations it seemed a bit rushed, but that's to be expected I suppose. It was heavy on the Catholicism which was obviously a central theme of the novel. I don't remember them focusing on the religion in the 1947 film, although I haven't seen it for years so I could be wrong.

The move in time from the '30s to the '60s didn't seem to cause much of a problem. They obviously did it to cash in on recent trends, but they didn't play too heavily on the whole mods and rockers thing.

I doubt very much that it will become a classic of British cinema but it's worth a watch.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:02 pm
by David
I haven't read Brighton Rock since, ooh, 1975 or thereabouts, but I can still remember that little Catholic jingle:

Between the stirrup and the ground
he mercy sought and mercy found.


Was that it? Well, it seems ludicrous, but it certainly beats the hell out of predestination. (Just finished watching The Seventh Seal. Feeling slightly stunned.)

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:05 pm
by lemonstar
delph_ambi wrote:Three superb Shakespeare adapatations:

3) Best of them all, Patrick Stewart as Macbeth, directed by Ruper Goold (2009). Quite the most powerful film of a play I have ever seen.
A good job I checked to see if anyone else had recommended this - with Shakespear being mentioned early in the thread it was the first thing I thought of - I thought it was terrific.

Neil

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:58 am
by brianedwards
I'd forgotten about those Dickens adaptations. Not a big David Lean fan but I really loved his Oliver Twist.
Regards those Shakespeare recommendations, while certainly very well acted (Stewart is amazing) and produced, they don't rank among the very best adaptations for me, simply because of their over-reliance on the original medium. I've no doubts that Goold is an excellent theatre director, but many of his techniques came across as quite gimmicky on the screen. Still, that said, definitely worth watching for the performances alone.

Just remembered another favourite adaptation: Orlando.


Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:02 am
by k-j
I didn't know there was a film of Orlando! One of my favourite novels, I'll try and get hold of the DVD this weekend.

Re: Books to Film

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:16 am
by lemonstar
brianedwards wrote: Regards those Shakespeare recommendations, while certainly very well acted (Stewart is amazing) and produced...
Yes, Stewart really surprised me - of course I'd heard he was good in this kind of role but never having seen him in anything like this I was completely knocked out by him.
brianedwards wrote: ...don't rank among the very best adaptations for me, simply because of their over-reliance on the original medium.
<snip>
I've no doubts that Goold is an excellent theatre director, but many of his techniques came across as quite gimmicky on the screen.
Still, that said, definitely worth watching for the performances alone.
Now you said that I can see exactly what you mean - I didn't know anything about the director so the theatre background you mentioned does seem to explain a lot.

Neil