Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Film VS Book - Reversed?

I was walking along the South Bank this morning thinking about Revolutionary Road and The Reader - two books that have recently been made into films that are in the cinema now.

What percentage of films are based - either directly or indirectly - on books?

Has there ever been a film of a book that was better than the book?

If I were to write a book that was based on a film what film should I choose?

I am thinking of a scene by scene attempt to write a film if you see what I mean. A book like Revolutionary Road has so much more detail in terms of what characters are thinking and feeling than it is possible to convey via the medium of film. A meaningful look in a film remains just that. In a book you have to spell out what the character is thinking and so the reader has a deeper understanding of what the author is trying to say. (I have no problem with film in itself as a medium just why are so many based on books? Do the people who make films have extremely impoverished imaginations or something?)

My plan would be to take a film - a pure film - and write it. So you get the meaningful look - and I would then write what was going on in the character's head at that point...Do you see what I mean?

Obviously I would upset 99% of the people who had watched the film. My version would not tally with theirs. But I would love to do it - if only to get revenge for all the great books that films are guilty of turning to dross...


  1. There are loads of films that are better than the original novels, but it's hard to think of many because most of the books have sunk into obscurity.

    A few that spring to mind are:

    Rosemary's Baby
    Planet of the Apes
    Dr Strangelove
    Midnight Cowboy
    The Bourne novels

    I'm also told that the film of the worst book I've ever read - The Bridges of Madison County - isn't bad, but I'm buggered if I'm going to find out.

  2. Easy: La Haine

    go for it

  3. The Bridges of Madison County is indeed a bearable film, thanks to the performances of Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. I was forced to see the movie when an out-of-town visitor insisted. The book is the worst thing I've ever read a paragraph of before my fingers convulsed of their own accord and dropped it back on to the display table. (Shudder.)

    I also think The Ice Storm is a better movie than the book.

  4. Humph, another knee jerk opinion shot down in flames. Still, I suppose I should stop making blanket assertions along the lines of books are better than films.

    Tricky for me to argue though - ain't read Bridges or seen the film, ain't read or seen Rosemary's baby, ain't read Planet of the Apes, ain't read Dr Strangelove, ain't read or seen Midnight Cowboy and I've only seen the Bourne films. Ain't seen or read the Ice Storm.

    I have not even seen one single episode of The Wire yet - that's how culturally out of touch I am...