Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

What novelist has been well served by the movies?


skimpole
 Share

Recommended Posts

Off the top of my head...

 

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Margaret Mitchell - Gone With the Wind

Herman Wouk - The Caine Mutiny

Nathaniel West - The Day of the Locust

Pearl S. Buck - The Good Earth

Agatha Christie - Ten Little Indians (40's version)/Murder on the Orient Express

Truman Capote - In Cold Blood (not a novel, but a fine adaptation)

Grace Metalious - Peyton Place

Dashiell Hammett - The Thin Man

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=skimpole wrote:}{quote}

> Any suggestions?

 

Frankly, I think it's just the opposite with all the authors mentioned so far in this thread: they've been poorly served by the film adaptations of their works.

 

The problem is that, basically, literature is literature, and movies are movies: if you want, say, Hemingway, you've got to sit down and actually read Hemingway. When a movie company acquires the rights to a piece of fiction, they purchase the title, character names and story, but the word-by-word connection between author and reader simply cannot be transferred from page to screen.

 

I will name one author who was well served by film adaptations of his work: Mario Puzo; the first two GODFATHER films were so superior in every way to the potboilers Puzo wrought that, for the rest of his life, he should've thanked Francis Coppola every day for making his poor prose into classics of the cinema whose brilliance almost inadvertently rubbed off on him. Without those films, he'd probably be all but forgotten today, and deservedly so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

D H. Lawrence had all his major novels made into movies. Women in Love is a splendid movie IMO, with Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, and Glenda Jackson. The Rainbow has been done and I believe Sons and Lovers as well. There have been several versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover. And let's not forget The Fox, with Sandy Dennis and Anne Heywood, from a novella. There may be others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent topic for discussion. Great novels are usually hard to turn into good movies, as Hudson pointed out. For instance, I recently watched Richard Brooks' versions of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV and LORD JIM. Not his best movies, to put it mildly. But James Hilton's novels, good but not Dostoevsky, have been translated effectively into film, as Archie said.

 

Although many of her novels take place over a long time span, which is usually difficult for movies to handle, Edna Ferber has been the source for quite a few famous films: the various versions of SHOW BOAT; GIANT; COME AND GET IT, which made a good showcase for Frances Farmer; SARATOGA TRUNK, a good vehicle for Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper; and, though it isn't highly regarded now, the first movie version of CIMARRON won the Oscar for best picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Hudson_Hawk wrote:}{quote}

> I will name one author who was well served by film adaptations of his work: Mario Puzo; the first two GODFATHER films were so superior in every way to the potboilers Puzo wrought that, for the rest of his life, he should've thanked Francis Coppola every day for making his poor prose into classics of the cinema whose brilliance almost inadvertently rubbed off on him. Without those films, he'd probably be all but forgotten today, and deservedly so.

 

I totally agree that the films are way better than Puzo's original novel. Along the same lines, perhaps, would be Peter Benchley's "Jaws," of which the film adaptation is much, much better than the novel.

 

As for the more highly regarded novelists, I think most of the good ones have been mentioned. Another interesting question would be which _playwrights_ have been best served by the movies based on their work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great topic!

 

Few authors mentioned so far would probably agree that their books were completely "well served" by the movies, but a few spring to mind as providing some good source material, even if their books often had to be pared down considerably to be filmable for reasons of censorship and length. Some, such as *Elinor Glynn*, were really lucky to be called upon by Hollywood at all!:

 

*Charles Dickens*

*Agatha Christie*

*Elinor Glynn*

*W. R. Burnett*

*Cornell Woolrich*

*Richard Llewellyn*

*Raymond Chandler*

*Patricia Highsmith*

*Olive Higgins Prouty*

*Fanny Hurst*

*Edna Ferber*

*James M. Cain*

*Ernest Hemingway*

 

Of the last two, *Cain* once said that his book Mildred Pierce was actually better on screen than as a written story--a rare compliment from any author! I believe that *Hemingway* claimed to hate all the adaptations of his books, though the rarely seen The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber, which became *The Macomber Affair* (1947), may be the best one of the bunch. It's hard to translate that man's style to film, though the first few minutes of *The Killers* (1946) certainly does a good job of it.

 

I don't think any of the authors ever refused the checks offered for their work by Hollywood once they made a deal. One writer whose stories seem to defy translation to the screen, despite numerous attempts, was *F. Scott Fitzgerald*.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of Raymond Chandler's novels have been adapted for the screen, a few more than

once. The results have been of varying quality. No matter how good the picture is, it

never quite captures the essence of the novels. The Marlowe character is somewhat

simplified and stereotyped in relation to the character presented in the books, and no

film can ever get all those weird, and occasionally over the top, similes, and the wit

of the writing. The films are enjoyable for the most part, but they can never touch the

original novels. Like a paperboy trying to beat up a house dick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm surprised no one has mentioned E. M. Forster yet.

 

*Where Angels Fear to Tread* (Helen Mirren, Judy Davis, Helena Bonham Carter, Rupert Graves)

 

*A Room With a View* (Merchant/Ivory - Helen Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis, Denholm Elliot)

 

*Howard's End* (Merchant/Ivory - Vanessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Anthony Hopkins)

 

*A Passage to India* (David Lean - Judy Davis, Alec Guinness, Peggy Ashcroft)

 

*Maurice* (Merchant/Ivory - Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliott)

 

Each of them are fine films that absolutely do justice to their respective novels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...