Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Amusing Anecdote

I was in the bookstore earlier today buying a copy of Richard Yates' classic book Revolutionary Road. The work has been turned into a film, which will be released in late December of this year. I noticed a gold embossed sticker stuck to the front cover, imploring its readers to "First read the book, then see the movie".

I joked with the lady behind the counter. "I think this sticker should be mandatory on every book which has a movie version."

She smiled, agreeing with me.

Then, following up on what I'd said earlier: "Or, better yet, read the book, and don't watch the movie."

If only, if only.


Batocchio said...

There are a handful to a dozen film adaptations that are as good or better than the book, but that's certainly the exception. Part of the problem is often the sheer length of the source material. Another is - obviously - that if you're talking Hollywood, they're generally pushing the lowest common denominator. Lastly, though, most moviegoers who have read the book will be comparing the adapatation on the screen with the one they've constructed in their own mind, and the film will almost always fall short in that comparison. Plus, there's the question of the teller versus the tale, and while the tale can generally be adapted, if people have fallen in love with the original teller and the telling, the new telling ain't likely to fly with them.

(Still, often it's just suits taking something good and turning it into crap.)

Liberality said...

Because books are always more thought provoking than any mere movie is likely to be--at least in comparison to most of the vapid Hollywood fare offered to the masses now.

Jess Wundrun said...

One of my favorite classes in college was "lit and film". Every week we spent Wednesday nights watching the movie that had been the previous week's assigned reading. I did okay with the shorter books, like 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest' but by the end of the term the prof was piling us up with 300-400 page novels. No way one could finish one of those in a week with a full load of other courses.

I can say without a doubt that in almost all cases, the movie is better than the Cliff Notes.

darkblack said...

As a former wage slave in the celluloid dream factory I would opine that the surest route to transmogrifying gold into shit is to make a movie from a book.

The unchanged fishtank filter that passes for Hollywood's executive-level comprehension of original ideas will allow nothing more.