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Book or Film?


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Initial post: 16 Jul 2013 18:58:17 BDT
E. C. says:
So there are mountains of films out there that have been made from books, but which ones did it with flair, which ones did it badly and what do you prefer, the book version or the film version?

I will start with Jurassic Park - much much preferred the book.

Posted on 16 Jul 2013 23:43:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jul 2013 23:44:13 BDT
Waterland, The Beach, The Tesseract, Dead Babies, Empire of the Sun - film crap, book far better.

Last Orders, The Cement Garden, The Color Purple, Of Mice and Men (the Gary Sinise one), Million Dollar Baby - just as worthy as the books.

Almost every Stephen King adaptation - better than the books.

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 17:35:53 BDT
BookWorm says:
Cloud Atlas the film was, for me, far better than the book.

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 18:16:22 BDT
E. C. says:
The Davinci Code Film was better than the book for me, mainly due to the artwork involved - I found myself breaking off from reading the book to google certain works of art that were mentioned.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2013 19:08:32 BDT
schwartz says:
I would have to say the exact opposite on Stephen King. I have nearly always preferred his books, the only exception being the Shawshank Redemption. I also enjoyed the Empire of the Sun film. I saw it before I read it, and I think my opinion may have been different if I had the book first though.

Battlefield Earth has to be one of the worst films. The book dragged on in places, but was generally good. The film was unwatchable.

Watchmen was done brilliantly, when I had expected the worst. I also loved the Fightclub film, and thought it was better than the book.

Oh, and Blade Runner was a great conversion of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?!

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 19:23:41 BDT
Lord of the Rings works far better for me as a film than the book. As much as I love the books, they don't have the epic scale that the films have.
The Hobbit on the other hand... the book wipes the floor with the film!

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 19:54:50 BDT
Most films are a disappointment, compared to their books however....
Children of Men is a MUCH BETTER FILM than book.
Schindler's List was far better than the book Schindler's Ark
and
LIFE OF BRIAN completely eclipsed it's inspiration - The King James Bible.

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 20:41:49 BDT
E. C. says:
One film I can't make my mind up about is Stand By Me, which was from Stephen King's The Body. I saw the film first and only sought out the book after I'd seen the end credits, but then I do prefer Stephen King's short stories. (I remember watching 'It' and being absolutely scared to death - have had a clown phobia ever since)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2013 21:57:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2013 21:58:29 BDT
schwartz says:
I forgot about Stand By Me. I have not read the book, but it is a classic film! I tend to think of King for his horror writing, but the best film conversions seem to be aside from this. The Green Mile was another great film. The casting for it was perfect!

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 23:03:12 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Jul 2013 23:08:40 BDT]

Posted on 17 Jul 2013 23:04:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2013 23:13:21 BDT
monica says:
I don't watch many films, but I do prefer Kubrick's films to the novels he based them on. Slightly, in case of Barry Lyndon; infinitely in that of The Shining, which I found too boring to finish reading.

But they can't always be compared, can they? The Lost Weekend is a good film and a good novel. For me (as I go on to compare), the film had more memorable scenes--it's the humiliation of being caught trying to steal a handbag and departing to a spontaneous & derisive 'somebody stole a purse' that I first remember, not the same scene in the novel--and to some extent more memorable characters (oh that wonderful nurse), perhaps because characters even in a good film are caricatures, which can be more striking than portraits. The film was a very good portrayal of incidents & milieu of an alcoholic's life; the novel was a very good look into the thought processes of a particular alcoholic and far less superficial. And if you've done the film only, I recommend the book.

Now I'm for a large nightcap, over which I'll puzzle whether I should re-read The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane to find whether the book stood up to what Sheen & Foster made of it . . . Thanks for a thread that made me think. Well, inasmuch as one can think about moovies.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 00:29:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jul 2013 00:31:28 BDT
Chris says:
Get Shorty is the only example I can think of of the film being better than the book. The film had so much more humour and personality thanks to the fantastic actors.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 02:08:22 BDT
I thought "The Running Man" was a film not worthy of the novellette by Richard Bachman (Stephen Kings pseudonym) and that Arnold szwarznegger was just his usual robotic wooden self.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 12:45:48 BDT
I think that books generally are much better than the films because you get so much more detail than is possible in film adaptations. Also, depending on what way it is written, you can get an insight into characters thoughts and feelings which are difficult to portray on screen. Another bonus is that you can conjure up images in your imagination that often films cannot truly replicate.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 13:37:21 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
In most cases books are preferable to screen adaptations; inevitably the transition involves compromise and loss. To me, the best films are those with original screenplays written specifically for cinema or TV.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 16:02:08 BDT
BookWorm says:
The book of Brideshead Revisited was brilliant. The TV adaptation was almost as good as the book becuase it was so true to the story. The film adaptation was terrible.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2013 17:24:07 BDT
Quite obviously, in the *fiction* area of a forum people will prefer novels to films. Older titles written in a more classic styles rarely make good adaptations because a screen can't *tell* you anything.

"On returning from the war Captain James discovered he'd lost his wife and child to consumption."

Adapting this sentence for screen is a nightmare. The scriptwriter is forced to us a voice-over (frowned upon), or introduce a scene not necessarily in the novel (Captain James in full uniform kneeling by a pair of headstones), or introduce dialogue between Captain James and another character or device so the viewer can *hear* the information. Subsequently, you are adding scenes and dialogue that didn't previously exist. This introduces another problem. A novel is a stop/start *at your own pace* production, a film is 2 hours (max) which you are eating into by adding the aforementioned scenes and dialogue.

Ironically, most modern writing advice pertains to screenwriting and not novel writing. "Show don't tell" is an example.

Posted on 18 Jul 2013 23:39:55 BDT
Isabella says:
Mostly, films of books are better if you try to forget the book and just watch. The two genres are so different that it's near impossible to enjoy the feeling you get from the book when it's someone else's vision. Having said that, 'Life of Pi' worked for me and some parts of LOTR did also. Other parts set my teeth on edge, though.

Posted on 19 Jul 2013 16:03:05 BDT
The old dictum was always: the book was better than the firm.
But although my first love has always been reading, and still is, I don't think that's necessarily always true nowadays.
Good film adaptations sometimes make good books better, for example Stephen King's Misery where William Goldman, the screenwriter, cut out all of King's padding and unnecessary and over-the-top stuff of the book and made the story leaner and more believable. In the book Annie Wilkes actually rides over a cop's body with a lawnmower-caddie (no kidding!). This would have been very silly in the movie.
Books and movies are very different media and their brilliance depend on different criteria.

Posted on 19 Jul 2013 21:41:12 BDT
I think it's easier to make films out of second rate books, much harder out of the best books. Hemingway: makes great films; so does F.Scott Fitzgerald. Faulkner, on the other hand, is hard to turn into a movie. When I think of my favorite films, they started as films, not books. I don't think Casablanca or Chinatown could ever work as well as a book. Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlow in The Big Sleep, and the one about the falcon were great movies, probably better than the book.

Posted on 20 Jul 2013 22:47:59 BDT
J D says:
The English Patient was a wonderful film but I found the book a little difficult to get into.
I agree with Bookworm about the series of Brideshead revisited being just as good as the book. The only slight quibble is that the ages of the actors Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews were at odds with the age of the characters they were playing at the start of the story as they were supposed to be 18. However as I said, that was only a tiny thing as they are fabulous actors and the cast list was amazing.

Posted on 20 Jul 2013 22:48:50 BDT
Swordswench says:
Die Hard was a book before a film and I found it to be that rare occasion where the film was better!

I'd like to add The Dark is Rising. Awful awful film that bore so little resemblance to the book I wondered why they bothered.

Posted on 20 Jul 2013 23:54:28 BDT
Brian says:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest- Great movie, but the book was better.

Posted on 21 Jul 2013 10:30:12 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
I think a lot depends on which order you see/read the different versions. If I've read and enjoyed a book it is very unlikely that a screen adaptation will seem as good and - in most cases - will be very disappointing (with one exception, there's never been a Jane Austen adaptation that I've felt did justice to her books). However, if I don't know the book a screen adaptation may serve well. Thus, as I'd never read Evelyn Waugh I quite enjoyed the television series of "Brideshead Revisited".

Posted on 22 Jul 2013 15:14:53 BDT
paddy888 says:
I watched a DVD called 'streetwalking sluts' the other day... no-one can convince me the book is half a good..
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  43
Initial post:  16 Jul 2013
Latest post:  6 Aug 2013

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