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

What great novelists have been ill-served by film?


skimpole
 Share

Recommended Posts

Here's an interesting topic:  what great novelists have been ill-served by film?  I'm going to start off with Flaubert.  I haven't seen the Chabrol or Renoir versions of Madame Bovary, but the Minnelli version does soften Flaubert's uncompromising realism.  Neither A Sentimental Education or "A Simple Heart" have been filmed, at least not in English, let alone Flaubert's three more difficult novels. 

 

I would add that Booth Tarkington has been incredibly lucky to have Orson Welles adapt The Magnificent Ambersons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously, some book-to-screen adaptations are really bad movies, which take away the magic of the book. Two names come to mind: one is Stardust (written by Neil Gaiman) which, in its book form, is a brisk and captivating storyline, but the 2007 movie is exactly the opposite - the director actually 'squashes characters to a single dimension and turns Robert de Niro and MIchelle Pfeiffer loose to swallow scenery whole'. Another bad movie which has literally been lost in translation has to be the 1985 flick, The Black Cauldron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off the top of my head, I'd have to say-----

 

DR. SEUSS!

 

On a more serious note, I'd cast my vote for STEPHEN KING.  Many of the films made from his novels are P I S S POOR!

 

KEN KESEY  "Cuckoo's Nest" wasOK, but "Sometimes A Great Notion" missed by MILES!

 

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off the top of my head, I'd have to say-----

 

DR. SEUSS!

 

On a more serious note, I'd cast my vote for STEPHEN KING.  Many of the films made from his novels are P I S S POOR!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Totally agree with that one. Although I myself am not watching the Under the Dome series, I am anxiously awaiting to see how it ends. The book made me think of at least one Twilight Zone episode.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite, Edgar Rice Burroughs, has never been considered one of the "great novelists" and I'm ok with that.  But for action/adventure/sci fi, he has no equal.  And Hollywood films have never done him justice.  The book Tarzan is an intelligent man raised by a tribe of man-like apes that are non-existant in the real world.  After meeting civilized people, he learned English and French.  He later went on to learn several other languages including Latin.  He learned many African languages and dialects and of course he could communicate in various degrees with some species of animals.  The fantastic adventures written by Burroughs took place in lost civilizations and pre-historic locations including an unknown world at the center of Earth.  Tarzan even took part in World Wars I and II.  He was a member of the House of Lords in England and he spent much time on his vast estate in central Africa.  His wife is Jane Porter, an American from Baltimore and his son is Jack Clayton, known among the apes as Korak the Killer. He raised a golden lion from cubhood and they bonded so tight that the lion would kill to protect his lord and master.  In later books, Tarzan had a pet monkey he called N'Kima.

 

The movie Tarzan was a monosyllabic simpleton who lived in a treehouse with Jane Parker from England, had a pet Chimp he called Cheetah and an adopted son he named "Boy".   After the first 2 MGM Tarzan movies, it is hard to distinguish one from the other.  The RKO series, although lower buget entries, at least had a variety of stories.

 

I hope the OP doesn't mind me barging in on his "great novelists" thread with a pulp writer from the 1st half of the 20th century, but I couldn't help taking advantage of this opportunity to air a long-time heart-felt complaint against MGM.

 

Carry on....

bOb39

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hemingway, Fitzgerald. Russian novelists like Tolstoy (long novels dont adapt well, though the Russians did a credible version of War and Peace....) Emily Bronte. (still waiting for the definitive version of Wuthering Heights....)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Two words....William Faulkner.  I haven't seen one filmic adaptation of his work that hasn't been watered down or chopped up until it's nearly unrecognizable.  True, his work can sometimes be difficult to get through.  But instead of the producers, directors, and screenwriters actually trying to make a faithful adaptation, they often tampered with his work in order to make it more, palatable, shall we say, to audiences.  

The one exception to this was Intruder In The Dust.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with many of these comments. I agree that most authors haven't done too well. I also agree that movies are movies and books are books, so to me it's most annoying when they take a great book and it turns into a mediocre or rotten movie--"You had THAT and you made THIS out of it?!?!?!"

 

First name that came to mind was Jane Austen. I think TV has done well by her (some fantastic miniseries versions of her books), but hardly any good films of her books. The only good one that comes to mind, actually, in my opinion: Sense and Sensibility (1995). I know y'all seem to love that 1940 P&P but I hate it so much and don't think the movie serves the book at all. But even if you want to ignore my opinion and count that film, that's still not that many good ones.

 

I also feel like Mark Twain's books never seen to be adapted as well as they could. Perhaps because his humor keeps getting edited down or PC-ed up. There have been some entertaining film versions of his books, but none that really could sit on the shelf next to the books. Not even close, IMHO.

 

In more recent years, JK Rowling comes to mind...... :)

 

About Emily Bronte, not that it's definitive, but I do enjoy the Ralph Fiennes version. That's the only version I've seen that shows how their kids turn out (I might be getting it mixed up with another version, since it's been a while, but that's what I seem to recall). If you're not going to show the kids, what's the point?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what about film adaptations of h.g. wells' novels:

'abbott and costello meet the invisible man'

'island of lost souls'

'invisible man', invisible man returns', 'invisible man's revenge' and 'invisible agent'

'man who could work miracles'

'time machine' (1960)

'things to come'

'war of the worlds'

most of these flicks have either been shown on tcm, or are available on dvd.

personally, i separate the two entities; i solely watch the film versions for pure entertainment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Vautrin said, almost all of them. It's pretty darned hard to be satisfied with the movie if you've read the book first.

 

If you've not read the book, the movie will often seem quite good.

 

But I'm one of those weirdo's who enjoyed 'Return to Oz', so what do I know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I HAVE read books, not really by "Great" authors, but competent enough writers, in which the film adaptations were FAR better than the books they came from.  I've mentioned a few of these several times...

 

THE NATURAL

 

BEING THERE

 

FORREST GUMP

 

THINK OF A NUMBER---made into the Canadian production "The Silent Partner" starring Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer

 

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with many of these comments. I agree that most authors haven't done too well. I also agree that movies are movies and books are books, so to me it's most annoying when they take a great book and it turns into a mediocre or rotten movie--"You had THAT and you made THIS out of it?!?!?!"

 

First name that came to mind was Jane Austen. I think TV has done well by her (some fantastic miniseries versions of her books), but hardly any good films of her books. The only good one that comes to mind, actually, in my opinion: Sense and Sensibility (1995). I know y'all seem to love that 1940 P&P but I hate it so much and don't think the movie serves the book at all. But even if you want to ignore my opinion and count that film, that's still not that many good ones.

 

I also feel like Mark Twain's books never seen to be adapted as well as they could. Perhaps because his humor keeps getting edited down or PC-ed up. There have been some entertaining film versions of his books, but none that really could sit on the shelf next to the books. Not even close, IMHO.

 

In more recent years, JK Rowling comes to mind...... :)

 

About Emily Bronte, not that it's definitive, but I do enjoy the Ralph Fiennes version. That's the only version I've seen that shows how their kids turn out (I might be getting it mixed up with another version, since it's been a while, but that's what I seem to recall). If you're not going to show the kids, what's the point?

 

 

Yes, I believe that's the only version that covered the second part of the novel (Wuthering Heights)........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...