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Thread: Film adaptations of books ?

  1. #1

    Film adaptations of books ?

    Hi everyone glad to have joined as it all looks very interesting !

    I've been struggling to understand the meaning of the phrase "Classical Adaptation" that I read recently where it relates to making a film out of a classical work of modern fiction. All I've managed to find is a short article in Wiki which has left me even more high and dry, so if someone could possibly kindly put the Wiki extract below into something a little easier to understand I'd be very grateful indeed.

    Unable to post URL so please enter "Film Adaptation" into Google and it's the top entry below the pictures. Scroll down to "Elision and interpolation" and it's the third paragraph which commences as below....

    Many thanks in advance

    [I]
    "As Sergei Eisenstein pointed out in his landmark essay on Charles Dickens, films most readily adapt novels with externalities and physical description: they fare poorly when they attempt the Modern novel and any fiction that has internal monologue or, worse, stream of consciousness..... "/I]

    More follows....

  2. #2
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    "Classic adaptation" means that someone liked that version.

    They fare badly trying to adapt any novel to film, because a full length novel makes a movie that is two to three times the length that Hollywood wants. A 90 minute movie converts to approximately 25,00 words; a novel is 40,000 words or more, and these days they are trying to make 80,000 words the norm, even if the novel is finished att 50,ooo.

  3. #3
    The Ghost of Laszlo Jamf islandclimber's Avatar
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    Try on Bela Tarr's 7 hour adaptation of Satantango. Tarr is just magic with his adaptations of the works of Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Werckmeister Harmonies which is an adaptation of The Melancholy of Resistance might be the best film I have seen and is firmly rooted in the postmodern, difficult-to-adapt, style of novel. I think much depends on whether the director tries to follow the book exactly or attempts to make a film that represents the same story and idea while not worrying about following an identical path. The latter usually makes for a much better film if one can understand that this should be the preferred path for a film. Film leaves so much to suggestion and inference.

    Another couple examples are Tarkovsky's Stalker (an adaptation of Roadside Picnic by the Strugatskys) and Wojciech J. Has' Hourglass Sanatorium based on the Bruno Schulz stories; and his Saragossa Manuscript based upon the Potocki novel. All three brilliant but loose adaptations.
    Last edited by islandclimber; 05-12-2013 at 09:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by islandclimber View Post
    I think much depends on whether the director tries to follow the book exactly or attempts to make a film that represents the same story and idea while not worrying about following an identical path. The latter usually makes for a much better film if one can understand that this should be the preferred path for a film. Film leaves so much to suggestion and inference.
    Thank you both indeed ! Oh dear, only being reasonably familiar with Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy I'm afraid you're light years above me I was in fact only thinking of Jane Austen's most popular books in particular and how there've been perhaps 3 or 4 film versions over the past 40 - 50 odd years and from what I can gather from many fans there's been little attempt to follow the books rather they've all been classical adaptations. And although I don't know whether there have ever been any radio serials of her books, I would have thought they would have been much more preferable to the films as I've always felt that imagination is the true cinema of the mind. In other words you're directly following what the author intended not what someone else thinks the author might or might not have intended.

    Being two quite separate mediums I suppose in the final analysis it must come down to individual taste whether one prefers the original book or a particular director's version, as always much preferring the books to pick up the subtle nuances intended in the first place I would also have thought it's almost impossible for anyone else to put themselves in their shoes ....? Which raises an interesting question has an author of a successful novel ever directed a successful film version of it ?

    Thank you again

  5. #5
    I feel it's almost impossible to make a successful classical adaptation. Everyone has a different vision of what they read, so to deem one vision correct in a film certainly is bound to piss some people off. The other route is to leave the film so generic as to be strictly following the plot, without any of it's inherent meaning, in an effort to not piss anyone off, but then they will be pissed that there was no meaning! :P
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcadius View Post
    Which raises an interesting question has an author of a successful novel ever directed a successful film version of it ?

    Thank you again
    Not as far as I know, but some writers have written the screenplay. Graham Greene wrote "The Third Man" as a novella first.
    Last edited by wordeater; 05-22-2013 at 04:20 AM.

  7. #7
    Thank you. Out of curiosity where there's no book been written first and a film has been successful in its own right, have any film directors then gone on to write a book about it and what happened.... ?

  8. #8
    That have been countless mediocre novels that were adapted into great movies.

  9. #9
    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    I'm eternally disappointed by 'Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh' though...the book had some depth to it.
    '...the rain
    is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply'

    Edna St. Vincent Millay, 'What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why'

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