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The English Patient: A Screenplay Paperback – 1 Jan 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Film; reprint edition (1 Jan. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413715000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413715005
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 550,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Captures the power and poetry of the spellbinding novel. 4 Nov. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anthony Minghella has created a superbly intelligent script based on a beautiful but lyrically difficult book. The script, in effect, excerpts the obsessive love affair buried among the many layers of the novel and makes it central to the movie without losing the poetical force of Ondaatje's language or the appeal of the well delineated characters. A more concise, yet equally powerful story retains the magical imagery, the sense of compassion, memory and loss that haunts its distant world and weaves its spell on the reader.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The best adaptation is not always the most faithful. 6 Dec. 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Adapting novels to screenplays is fraught with perils - the expectations of readers who want to see the movie as they imagined
the story when reading the book; trying to condense hundreds of pages of prose to 120 pages of sparsely written screen directions
and (one hopes) pithy, memorable dialogue; and not least, dealing with an author resentful of the screenwriter's "messing around"
with his or her work. But in "The English Patient", a screenplay by Anthony Minghella, who also directed the film, we have an adaptation
brilliant in its execution, one which the author actually praises in a prologue to the published script (Miramax Books). The script is based
on Canadian author Michael Onjaatje's novel of the same name. The novel is quite different, an amazing, drug-hazed trip in its own right.
When Minghella decided to do the film version, he read the book once, then put it away and began afresh. He's taken the sense of the
book, the emotional core of it, and brought that forward, using elements from the novel and inventing a few of his own. Both men
have nothing but admiration for each other, and Ondaatje was on the set of "The English Patient" much of the time.
For anyone interested in filmmaking, scriptwriting, adaptations, or just a good read, both the novel and the
screenplay will not disappoint.
-michael cox.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The English Patient spins a web of intricate character. 10 April 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
In The English Patient, we have a story that is able to rend the heart and soothe the soul within a single passage. The book spins an intricate web both with its storyline and with the way we piece the characters together; each fragment fitting into its own place until we finally form a complete picture which brings new light to every element we have discovered before. It is that web which captivates the reader, forcing us to complete the whole picture before we are able to put the book down
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lost in Translation! 8 Sept. 2007
By Judith Johnson - Published on
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, the screen adaptation did not do justice to this Booker prize winning novel although Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas were beautifully cast. Author Michael Ondaatie's tale of the rememberance of an adulterous romance juxtaposed with the horrors of WWII loses some of its magic in the transition to film. Sadly, the author's arcane knowledge about the Great Silk Road, the Florentine Madonnas, various desert winds and the great Django Reinhardt have been severely compressed or omitted.

Told from the P-O-V of a dying protagonist under the influence of morphine, the sweeping story is revealed in numerous flashbacks. The locations alternate between a ruined villa in war torn Italy, glamourous Cairo, Egypt at Christmastime, 1938 and archaeological ruins in the uncharted North African desert. The Oscar nominated screenplay actually begins three-quarters through the book with aristocratic Hungarian explorer Lazlo Almaszy falling aflame from a burning plane into the Saharan desert. His rescue by Beoudins who save his life is both haunting and original.

The tragically disfigured Almasy is dubbed the English Patient when he ends up in a British field hospital where he refuses to reveal his identity. A skilled linguist, they think he is one of them, however, Almasy has good reason to conceal his true identity. There the shell-shocked nurse Hana starts caring for him and they end up in a villa where they are slowly joined by a few other characters.

There the brilliant, anti-social Count recounts the story of his doomed love affair with Katharine Clifton, a collegue's charming wife. Poor Almasy is a man who "fasted until he found what he wanted" and when he finally finds her, he is obsessed. For the love of K, he ultimately betrays his friends, his country and is forever haunted by their tragic destiny.

The screenplay does do an excellent job of making coherent the duel plot lines and numerous flashbacks. It is all here-adultery, homosexuality, necrophilia, drug addiction, treason, torture and murder in a story so compelling and so tragic one actually pities these fictional characters.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
carefully crafted masterpiece 14 May 2000
By Sunil Govinnage - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anthony Minghella has re-created one of the most remarkable screenplays of our time by giving a new dimension to the original work. It is more concise, but has kept the essence of the novel. It portrays a journey of several people; Hana, Kip, Caravaggio and Almasy who met each other perhaps by chance. But Minghella's work is not an outcome of a mere chance, but a carefully crafted masterpiece like the novel it is based on.
If you have enjoyed the book and the film, then you must somehow other read the screenplay to better understand and appreciate both the book and the film. I have read it over five times and will read it again and perhaps again!
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