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Film adaptations that are better than their books.

24 posts in this topic

Cinematical gets the conversation going by daring to hail The Sword and the Stone as better than T.H. White's The Once and Future King.

I'm kind of surprised we've never had a thread on this. (Or have we?)

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Cinematical gets the conversation going by daring to hail The Sword and the Stone as better than T.H. White's The Once and Future King.

8O Wow. Way stupidunconvincing example. White = brilliant. Disney = tol'able.

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Fred Clark @ Slacktivist has been making a compelling case re: the book and film versions of Left Behind.

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How about CHILDREN OF MEN? ::mf_hide::

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The Godfather

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This will set some people off, but The Shawshank Redemption.

Another that will raise blood pressure in quite a few: Million $ Baby. THe combining of two stories from Rope Burns made something greater than the sum of their parts.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: Many Bible movies are better than the source material (as literature/art).

Oh, daring! But which ones?

Keep in mind that many Bible movies, such as The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Last Temptation of Christ and so on, are based not on the Bible but on novels which, themselves, were adaptations of the Bible. (We could sort of add The Passion of the Christ to this list, but that was based on a collection of mystical visions, not on a "novel" per se.) So which source material should we judge them by?

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: Many Bible movies are better than the source material (as literature/art).

Oh, daring! But which ones?

Wait. There are Bible movies that are good? ;)

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This thread seems to have stalled. But films that are better than their source? Well, off the top of my head...

EYES WIDE SHUT

MARY POPPINS

NOSFERATU: PHANTOM DER NACHT

ROSEMARY'S BABY

THE SHINING

THE STEPFORD WIVES

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

THE WIZARD OF OZ

Edited by Ryan H.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: THE SHINING

: THE STEPFORD WIVES

Someone has to ask: Which versions? :)

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Ryan H. wrote:

: THE SHINING

: THE STEPFORD WIVES

Someone has to ask: Which versions? :)

1980 and 1975, respectively.

And I've just thought of one more: OLDBOY.

Edited by Ryan H.

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2001: A Space Odyssey.

That one came to mind, but I thought it was unfair to compare 2001 against the short story by which it was inspired, "The Sentinel." The book titled 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, by Arthur C. Clarke, was written at the same time as the film was made, and thus the film is not an adaptation of it, but rather a simultaneous creation; Clarke has said that the film could be credited to "Kubrick and Clarke" and that the book could be credited to "Clarke and Kubrick."

Edited by Ryan H.

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I'm in the minority here, but the book "The Shining", IMO, is far, far superior to the dreadful, overlong, tedious, overacted, steadicam-overloaded movie version, whose only saving grace is that Kubrick had a knack for framing shots.

I can only harbor a guess, but I heretell that "Forest Gump" belongs on this list.

I also consider "High Fidelity" a tie, only due to the fact that the movie version actually played the songs mentioned in the novel.

The Princess Bride is also superior to the book.

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The Princess Bride is also superior to the book.

How so?

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Interesting list. But no one mentioned "Last of the Mohicans" (Day-Lewis version) which is more historically accurate, and really hangs together better than Fenimore-Cooper's book.

I'm in the minority here, but the book "The Shining", IMO, is far, far superior to the dreadful, overlong, tedious, overacted, steadicam-overloaded movie version, whose only saving grace is that Kubrick had a knack for framing shots.

I can only harbor a guess, but I heretell that "Forest Gump" belongs on this list.

I also consider "High Fidelity" a tie, only due to the fact that the movie version actually played the songs mentioned in the novel.

The Princess Bride is also superior to the book.

But the sarcasm/satire/humor in the book is lost amid the surface versions of the movie "Princess Bride"

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Cinematical gets the conversation going by daring to hail The Sword and the Stone as better than T.H. White's The Once and Future King.

Nobody shoot me, but I think the movie is at least as good as the book -- at least the first part of the book, the part it was based on, which is the only part I've read all the way through. I'm fond of the book and recognize White's achievement, but in its own (admittedly lowbrow) way, Disney created a little masterpiece there. I absolutely adored that movie as a kid, and I still love it.

The Remains of the Day movie is also as good as the book. The film version of Now, Voyager is much better than the book.

Edited by Gina

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I'm a fan of Agatha Christie, but I've got to say...the 2009 David Suchet adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express (admittedly a television adaptation) improved on the novel in several key ways, including deepening Poirot's moral crisis at the climax. As I put it in my 'blog:

Rachett [the victim] becoming a remorseful criminal [...] muddies the moral waters in interesting ways. Where the 1974 version could end on a relative high note--murder has been done, but all is right with the world, and even if Poirot must "wrestle with my reports...and my conscience" we seek his wrestling will not last longer than it takes to say the words. In this adaptation, there is no question that Rachett deserved to die, but his death does not make things right. A crucial exchange late in the movie illustrates this:

Suspect: You said of the woman in Istanbul that she knew the rules of her culture and knew what breaking them would mean.So did Cassetti.

Poirot: And so do you!

Suspect: When you've been denied justice... you are incomplete.It feels that God has abandoned you in a stark place.I asked God [...] what should do,and he said do what is right.And I thought if I did,it would make me complete again.

Poirot: And are you?

Suspect: [painful pause] But I did what was right!

The murder of Rachett/Cassetti does not make things right; nor does Poirot's decision at the conclusion. He begins this film a troubled man--not the dandy, cheerful Poirot of the earlier Suchet adaptations, but an old man, worn down by years of peering into the evil at the heart of so many humans. He clings to one thing--to the belief that justice must be done. This investigation calls into question the very nature of justice, and when he makes his decision at the end it is not the cheerful giving up of the novel ("Then I have the honor to retire from the case") nor is it content farewell of Albert Finney. It is heartbreaking, and you can see it in his face.

I've not quite found a classically-structured mystery movie to match this one.

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I've seen Lumet's adaptation, but I wasn't really crazy about that one. I was subsequently warned away from the Suchet MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, with folks citing that, aside from Suchet's Poirot, the film is unimpressive, even dull.

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I've seen Lumet's adaptation, but I wasn't really crazy about that one. I was subsequently warned away from the Suchet MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, with folks citing that, aside from Suchet's Poirot, the film is unimpressive, even dull.

I've seen that criticism. I don't agree with it, though. It's not as cheery as most of the Poirot series tends to be, but it's more interestingly complex than either the bigscreen adaptation or the book. IMHO, of course (the Poirot series is a bit hit-and-miss for me. I didn't care for Death on the Nile or Appointment with Death--both part of the more recent decade--all that much. Orient Express surprised me by how good it was).

The Lumet adaptation is glamorous but lead-footed and...I'm not sure if reverent is the word, but the series certainly got better once Ustinov got on board and the whole thing was played more deliberately as a comedy. Evil Under the Sun wasn't much loved on its first appearance, but I would watch it more readily than the Lumet movie (the fact that it has Diana Rigg doesn't really hurt matters).

Edited by NBooth

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I've seen that criticism. I don't agree with it, though. It's not as cheery as most of the Poirot series tends to be, but it's more interestingly complex than either the bigscreen adaptation or the book. IMHO, of course (the Poirot series is a bit hit-and-miss for me. I didn't care for Death on the Nile or Appointment with Death--both part of the more recent decade--all that much. Orient Express surprised me by how good it was).

Well, I'm not a big Christie or Poirot guy, so I'm not sure what I'd make of it. Your statement about the added moral weight does intrigue me, because I was quite disappointed by the lightweight, celebratory finale of Lumet's ORIENT EXPRESS.

Evil Under the Sun wasn't much loved on its first appearance, but I would watch it more readily than the Lumet movie (the fact that it has Diana Rigg doesn't really hurt matters).

Rigg certainly is a whole lot of awesome.

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