Saturday, April 14, 2007

Books to Movies

After writing the post on a disappointing celluloid version of an appreciated book ("A plea to the authors"), I tried to classify my books in Library thing (www.librarything.com) based on whether a movie has been made on them. I was surprised to find that out of 172 books in my library, atleast 52 have been made into movies - and I was hardly aware of any of them barring a handful! Almost every classic has been filmed, and a lot of them have poor ratings on IMDB.

That brings me back to the same thought - why do some of the brilliant books end up being unimpressive on screen? Is it a matter of expectation mismatch or are most good books more an interplay of words and thoughts, better expressed in pen than dialogues, and hence unfit for celluloid consumption?

5 comments:

Reel Fanatic said...

I think it's usually a matter of two factors ... what you have to cut to squeeze the book often leaves fans of the literary work seething ... and, more importantly, books and movies just unfold at a different pace .. People can read books at their own speed, but you obviously can't do that at a movie theater .. My favorite book-to-movie combo would have to be Roddy Doyle's "The Snapper," just a very funny little book that was turned into an even funnier little movie

Madhuri said...

Yes - the squeezing in is definitely annoying for the readers. Sometimes directors have to resort to breaking the movie into overflowing, long, parts to capture everything (well, almost). For instance LOTR. But in such cases the non-readers feel annoyed :)

shiva said...

I think it is the latter - words and thoughts difficult to express on screen. but books made into movies have the advantage of a wider reach though they may fall well short of what the author intends...

blogonmyblog said...

This might seem inappropriate, but I saw your profile on librarything.com We're on the same wavelength, rather..I'm trailing you :)

Willi Wonka (Gene Wilder) was pretty close to the book.

If my lethargy may permit, I'll post something on Kieslowski's art. The movies are connected to each other.
I have a blog here..

Bit Hawk said...

I think Godfather was one film that matched the book. There were a few places where the book excelled (Sonny funeral, rise of the Don, growth of Michael). But, the movie trimmed out the Johnny Fontane-Lucy Mancini-Jules episodes (which I personally felt was not very necessary in the novel) and the genius of Coppolla, Brando and Pacino made it such a great film!