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Favorite Books That Were Never Movies


johnm001
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There are various threads that include discussion on books vs. film, and how well a favorite book was transferred to film; but I don't recall ever seeing a thread devoted to books/stories you've read that were never adapted to film.  One of my favorite books, THEY FOUND ATLANTIS by Dennis Wheatley, read like a screenplay to me.  I read the entire thing, as if I were watching a film.  I read it in the early 70s (it was old, then) and it has always surprised me that it was never made into a film.  Another favorite book that has never had a film adaptation, is THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, by Josephine Tey, a book I also read in the early 70s.  Like all of Tey's books, it is a marvelous read.  Although, I would imagine it would present a challenge to adapt it for the screen,  I'd like to see someone with talent give it a try.  What are some of your favorites you'd like to see adapted to a motion picture?

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Return to Laughter:

 

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Written by a real anthropologist, this book is about a fictional anthropologist on her first assignment in the field. She arrives in an unnamed African country to learn the language and customs of the people she's studying. Her values, prejudices, and principles all come into play as she tries to be culturally sensitive but not lose her sense of self in this foreign environment. Interesting & thought provoking.
 
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The Stars My Destination:
 

 

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In other similar threads I mentioned :

 

"KIN FLICKS"  by Lisa Alther

 

"WINTERDANCE" by Gary Paulsen

 

A few William Goldman books HAVE been made into pretty good movies, but one of my favorites:

 

"YOUR TURN TO CURTSEY, MY TURN TO BOW" never has.

 

Also, a minor book by a minor author:

 

"SOMEONE AND FELICIA WARWICK"  by Raymond Mason would have made a fairly good murder mystery.

 

Now, there IS a favorite book of mine that WAS made into a movie, but since IT'S adaptation pretty much blew chunks, I'd opine that it HASN'T been made into a movie!

 

And that's:

 

SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION by Ken Kesey. (aka: "Never Give An Inch")

 

Paul newman's treatment of John Gay's abysmally poor adaptaion of this powerful novel cannot be excused.  OR really be considered a "film adaptation".

 

 

Sepiatone

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I have two, one from the 70’s and one from the 80’s, that were made into inferior TV movies but deserved  superior big-screen versions.  One was Til Death Us Do Part by the just deceased Vincent Bugliosi about two “Double Indemnity” style murders in 1966 LA that had more twists than any mystery novel.  It would have been an instant star-making role for the right actor playing the charismatic killer and shows how the justice system really works.  When I finally put the book down I felt like I’d spent a year in law school.  I know Bugliosi was a teacher and this book shows how good he must have been at that.  We have one like him here and I learned a lot just by being called for jury duty for a case he was on and listening to him explain the law to us as it was not as we thought it was.  I still have his reply to the letter I wrote him afterwards thanking him doing so thanking me for writing.

 

The other one was The Other Woman by Shirley Fielding.  A mistress gets her lover to leave his family for her then finds after four years of marriage that one of his coworkers is after him and her position is now reversed.  A media personality, she finds a friend is doing articles about such situations and wonders if she is a winner or loser.  A subplot also deals with spousal abuse that was then just being recognized as a contributor and valid defense to domestic crime.  The sad thing about the TV film was that Fielding played a large part in its making but couldn’t transfer her writing skills to filmmaking. It could have been so much better and made some real social commentary.

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I think Salinger refused to sell the rights.

Hollywood tried relentlessly to buy the rights - but My Foolish Heart, the screen adaptation of one of his short stories, forever soured him on Hollywood. Interestingly, according to Shields and Salerno's book, "Salinger" the person most determined to buy the rights for himself to star as Holden Caulfield - Jerry Lewis!

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Catcher in the Rye

 

This was a hot book among older teens and young adults when I was coming of age in the early '60s, so I bought a copy and struggled through about 1/3 of it, but I got so bored with it, I just gave up. It meant absolutely nothing to me.

 

Could someone please explain the plot and the book's meaning to me? Please use small words and short sentences. :)

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Could someone please explain the plot and the book's meaning to me? Please use small words and short sentences. :)

When I was in high school, some members of my English class "presented" the book to the rest of us. They each had a clicker, and would click it for each obscene word. It was one of the most hysterical things I'd ever seen or heard.

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When I was in high school, some members of my English class "presented" the book to the rest of us. They each had a clicker, and would click it for each obscene word. It was one of the most hysterical things I'd ever seen or heard.

The book is a complete cipher for me.  It made no impression.  I don't even recall the obscene words, and I was at an all boys Catholic high school, in the 60s.  I wonder if kids, today, are still made to read it?  Although, the worst book during those years, for me, was "Gulliver's Travels".  I detested every single word of it.  I burned it, when I was done.  Not sure what that was meant to do, but it made me feel better, at the time.  I remember telling my teacher how much I hated it, and he claimed it was a superb example of satire.  I told him I preferred Mad Magazine!

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slaytonf

 

The Stars My Destination

 

Good choice. I'd nominate The Demolished Man as well. I don't think there's anyone in Hollywood who could do it right. Kubrick is dead and Ridley Scott lost his edge years ago.

 

As for Victorian classics I'd say The Cloister And The Hearth by Charles Reade. I believe there was a silent version from sometime in the 1900's. but I've never seen it.

 

Best wishes
Metairie Road

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slaytonf

 

The Stars My Destination

 

Good choice. I'd nominate The Demolished Man as well. I don't think there's anyone in Hollywood who could do it right.

 

The Demolished Man is a good choice.  I was thinking more along the lines of Ken Russell.

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......  Another favorite book that has never had a film adaptation, is THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, by Josephine Tey, a book I also read in the early 70s.  Like all of Tey's books, it is a marvelous read.  Although, I would imagine it would present a challenge to adapt it for the screen,  I'd like to see someone with talent give it a try.....

 

I loved The Daughter of Time, but I can't see its being made into a film.

I mean, most of it is some guy who is forced to be (temporarily) inactive for a while, so he throws his mental energy into speculation as to whether Richard lll was as evil as history has painted him. It's a lot of "inner" story, very little to no action. Or plot, per sec. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but what works beautifully as a book might be almost impossible to translate into a movie.

 

You could always watch Richard the Third, and just shout "yay ! I know you're really a good guy !" every time old Laurence Olivier sneers into the camera.

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I know this one could be debateable, but I would nominate SERENADE by James M. Cain.

 

Okay, yes I know it was "the basis" for the 1956(?) Lanza/Fontaine film, but for those of you who have read it and seen the movie, you know that the title and the fact that they're about guys who can sing are literally all they share in common (and I literally mean literally.)

 

I thought for the longest time that the only books Cain wrote were MILDRED PIERCE, INDEMNITY and POSTMAN, because those were the three available from Black Lizard (a great nineties republisher of noir fiction.) Then I discovered the existance of SERENADE, which has been reprinted in a gorgeously covered paperback edition. (yay! it attached)

 

It is one hell of a read and highly recommended, and the real story Cain puts out is one hell of a book and would make- if done right and chances are good it would be done wrong- one hell of a film.

 

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Another idea--this will probably never be made, because "Gone With the Wind" (1939) is the ultimate Civil War film told from the Confederate side--but "High Hearts" by Rita Mae Brown--is about a Southern bride of 1861 who sees her new husband off to war, then successfully disguises herself as a man & serves in the Confederate Army--chop off some subplots, & this would make a fascinating movie.

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There is an alternate universe where Stanley Kubrick's The Man Who Loved Children, starring Robin Williams, Kathleen Turner, Chistina Ricci and Mara Wilson humiliates Forrest Gump at the 1994 Academy Awards.

 

The Autumn of the Patriarch

Bleak House

A Sentimental Education

The Master and Margarita

Death on the Installment Plan

The Satantic Verses

The Golovyov Family

The Good Soldier  [this is a role for Ralph Fiennes]

The Baron in the Trees

The Garden Where the Brass Band Played

The Maias

Shame

Song of Solomon

Lost Illusions

The White Guard

Nostromo

Humboldt's Gift

The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man

A Death in the Family

The Knot of Vipers

The Possessed

Tongo-Bungay

Call it Sleep

The Iron Tracks

The Age of Wonders

Money

Self-Condemned

Kokoro

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This one won a Pulitzer Prize & somehow has not made it to film or television, (as far as I know)

 

The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor.  A real shame, because this is his best book, IMHO.

It was a short-lived television series, that I watched, with Kurt Russell as Jamie.  I never read the book, though.

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