Thursday, October 11, 2007

From Page to Silver Screen- Lost in Translation?

Now that summer is over, I can look back and say that it was one of the weakest summers for great movies. I had minor surgery a few weeks ago and therefore had some down time, so I started thinking about which books have translated beautifully to the movie screen. I think this weekend may call for a trip to Blockbuster, since I’m going to be all alone with my children while my husband jets off to San Francisco. Lucky dog.

Here’s a brief list:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Jack Nicholson, must we say more?)

The Harry Potter Books


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (only in the hands of the capable Peter Jackson could these movies have appeased Tolkien fans)

Dune ­– I know some of Herbert’s readers would disagree, but I’ve always liked the film

Dracula ­– I like the one with Gary Oldman

The Majority of Jane Austen novels – yep, I’m one of those girls who turns to Pride & Prejudice when I’m in a funk

The Great Train Robbery – Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, and Alan Webb – perfect!)

Maltese Falcon

Last of the Mohicans (with Daniel Day Lewis)

Lots of kids books, including Wizard of Oz, Black Stallion, Anne of Green Gables, Watership Down, and The Secret Garden to name a few.

A few books that have never shone on the big screen:

Great Expectations (sorry Gwyneth and Ethan)

Frankenstein – Even with the fabulous duo of DeNiro and Brannaugh, I thought this film fell short

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Great Gatsby - I’ve always had an issue with one of the actors as being miscast

Movies I wish they’d make:

Anything by Wilkie Collins

Some updated John Steinbeck films

Anything by the MI Writers!

What would you add to these lists? What should I get for this weekend’s entertainment?


Mark Terry said...

Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg. It's based on a book called Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. Haven't read the book yet--it's on the shelf--but both my wife and I were stunned by how good the movie was, as thrillers go.

The Green Mile. The book by Stephen King is terrific, but the movie is better.

And I often feel like a heretic when I say it, but The Lord of the Rings movies were far, far better than the books (which are great, but sometimes their pace is screwy and all his characters sound like Oxford dons debating good and evil).

MysterLynch said...

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned.

It is based on the Walter Mosley novel, with the author having written the screenplay.

Laurence Fishburne is amazing as Socrates Fortlow.

Nina Wright said...

In the thriller category, I recommend JACKIE BROWN, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, based on the Elmore Leonard novel RUM PUNCH. It stars 70s black-exploitation star Pam Grier (looking damn fine), Bridget Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson (who's alternately hilarious and terrifying), and Robert DeNiro. Trust me, you've never seen DeNiro in a role like this!

Rick Bylina said...

Good translations -

"Ironweed" - by William Kennedy staring Nicholson and Streep (turn up the volume right at the end to hear the last all important line)

"Green Mile" - agree with mark

"Horse Whisperer" - I believe the author coped out on the ending in the book, but Redford did a much better job having the protag face her issue in the movie. Much better movie the second time around.

paul lamb said...

To Kill a Mockingbird.
Gone with the Wind.

Bill Cameron said...

Sorry, but Peter Jackson failed to understand the most crucial point of the Lord of the Rings: exactly what the real strength of the Hobbits was. As a result, the movies are striking visual spectacle, and I certainly enjoyed watching them, but ultimately they lack the depth and nuance of the books.

jbstanley said...

Mark, I enjoyed Shooter as well. Am hoping that Into the Night is as good. I'm going with my dad on Sunday.

Bold statement about LOR, but I have to agree.

jbstanley said...

How could I have forgotten To Kill A Mockingbird? One of my favorites! And Laurence Fishburne as Socrates Fortlow - will have to check that out. Thanks all!