Film adaptations – novels

How many times did you want to whack someone who asked you to list your favorite film adaptations? Plenty ha?

Copyright © Leila Murseljevic
Copyright © Leila Murseljevic

However, aside the fact that is annoying and disturbing, it is quite interesting and demanding to actually form a list like that. Certainly, as a 7th art devotee, when you think about things like these, you occasionally forget some of the important films, a fact that it will surely be reflected in my list as well.

Here I focus on film adaptations based on novels, without specific order.

“What should I start with?” you ask yourself. Whether it is a good, a bad, partially good, or perfect, the story of the film adaptations can be very tricky indeed. Why so? Evidently, because in most cases “screened works” are often better than the adaptation itself.

Since that I am in London, I will start with the Brits: Nick Hornby and his High Fidelity, used for the film with the same name, directed by Stephen Frears. Even with some changes from the novel itself, this 2000 comedy-drama is on the verge of becoming the role model of modern novel adaptations.

Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa vie, 1962 French drama, based on Marcel Sacotte’s book, and Bande a Part, adaptation of Dolores Hitchens’ novel are movies always worth mentioning. Whether it is in the context of adaptations or just pure Nouvelle Vague classics, you cannot bypass them.

Robert Altman’s 1970 satirical black comedy M.A.S.H., based on Richard Hooker’s novel and unavoidable Francois Truffaut ‘s Fahrenheit 451 from 1966, based on dystopian novel written by Ray Bradbury (and this one should be in a special box with a colorful ribbon) are examples of more underground adaptations.

It is expected from me to mention some of the adaptation’s classics: Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita and Clockwork Orange, David Fincher’s Fight Club, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America and etc.

Transferring a written work on the big screen is always a difficult thing to do and, expectedly, we have more examples of bad adaptations that the good ones. We were witnesses of some very bad ones in the recent years (The Great Gatsby, The Cat in the Hat, Lost in Space, Inspector Gadget and etc.).

But even though we had some pretty good ones in the past, I believe that the challenge of making a successful adaptation remains active.


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