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Best and worst adaptation of a book to screen, big or small

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  • Best and worst adaptation of a book to screen, big or small

    What do you think were some of the best and worst adaptations of books to TV and Film?

    I think the miniseries format is superior to a movie. There is more time to develop characters and story line instead of forcing it into a limit of 2 or so hours.

    The best is Lonesome Dove. The 800 page + plus book and 4 two hour episode miniseries left you a little sad because you wanted more. The duo of retired Texas Rangers turned cattlemen Gus McCrea and Woodrow Call were classics. Robert Duval is the easy going happy go lucky wise cracking Gus McCrea. Tommy Lee Jones as the dry stern Woodrow Call. They played well off of each other. The supporting cast was also terrific! Duval has said that Gus was the best character he ever played.

    Some of the worst book to film adaptations are any thing written by Joseph Wambaugh and put up on the big screen. Wambaugh's books are great. They have complex character development with a lot of the thoughts of the characters coming out in the books. But attempts to put these great books onto the silver screen fall flat. In the movies the characters seem flat. And there have been some good actors in these movies. If you have a great book and good actors the fault must be somewhere else. Maybe these books are to complex for Hollywood?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    The best ? Probably, 'Downfall.'

    The worst ? Unquestionably, 'The Seeker, The Dark is Rising.' The author, Susan Cooper, was on the verge of suicide after what the film people had done to her novel, one of the finest YA fantasies ever written. What brought her back from the brink was the backlash from three generations of readers who wanted to roast cast and crew over a slow fire (many literally).
    Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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    • #3
      The very worst I've seen is "The Ninth Gate" which was very loosely based on Arturo Perez-Reverte's "El Club Dumas". (The Dumas Club, referring to a group of re-enacters enamored of Alexandre Dumas' works.)

      How anyone can take a great, if complex, novel, and one of America's better actors, and turn it into a boring slug, is beyond me. But they did it! Yech!
      dit: Lirelou

      Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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      • #4
        One of the best has to be Clavell's "Shogun" made into a mini-series with Richard Chamberlain as Blackthorne and Toshiro Mifune as Toranaga.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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        • #5
          Hi

          One of the worst was 'The Stand' by Stephen King, made into an awful miniseries, with another King novel 'It' being equally shoddily treated.
          The Keep by Paul Wilson was made into an awful film starring Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne & Jrgen Prochnow.

          Das Boot has to rank IMO as one of the best adaptations, though the books author, Lothar-Gnther Buchheim wasn't that impressed.

          Regards

          Andy H
          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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          • #6
            There are in my mind very few movies that are better than the book that they were based upon. The one that I always remember is "The Deep", by Peter Benchly of "Jaws" fame. I think the "happy" ending of the movie is far more satisfying than one in the book. Plus the underwater cinematography is great, with the actors doing all of the underwater action. Plus you have Bisset's wet t-shirt and Goslings Black Seal rum. Arrrr, "rum's not drinkin', rum's surviving"......... A concept that I have applied to my personal life.
            Lance W.

            Peace through superior firepower.

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            • #7
              The Lord of the Rings trilogy has to be the best adherence to a book. Peter Jackson worked very hard to remain faithful, with a couple notable glitch's.

              The latest incarnation of Man on Fire did fairly well.

              As to worst, those are far too common. The recent butchering of Game of Thrones leaps to mind.
              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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              • #8
                Hmm. I think 'Rita Heyworth and the Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Body' (The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By me) are really good takes on what the author (Stephen King, and both from his novella book 'Different Seasons') was trying to say in his writings. Minor quibbles with Shawshank as Morgan Freeman didn't look anything like the red headed Irishman from the novella, and that annoying Elvis like hick that was murdered by the guards in the movie but transfered to a lighter security prison for his silence in the novella. But it still stayed true to the message and the main plot word for word other than that. The Body/Stand By Me was right on the money. That was a truly faithful adaption that is as watchable as the novella is readable.

                An SK novella that was horribly destroyed was The Running Man. What an abortion of a movie from a great story. If I had the money I'd remake it the way it was meant to be.

                But the one that I really hate is Donnie Brasco. The book is such a great story, but Hollywood just had to spin things to make the story more believable to fools but worse for those that knew what really happened. Lefty was a sharp dresser, not the slob in the movie; Donnie was never at the murder of the three captains, Boobie never got a executed at that scene; Donnie and Lefty were never on a dock trying to hit Sonny Red's kid; Donnie never felt bad about bringing them down or thought that he'd betrayed them; no Japanese waiter was beaten up over a BS story and a tape recorder; and it was Sonny Black that handed his jewelry to the barman before going to a meet that he knew was going to end up with him dead. Lefty spent (IIRC) eight years in jail and died not long after his release.

                Oh, and worse than all that Donnie (Joe Pistone) never ever struck his wife as the movie showed.

                If they had of kept to the facts then the movie would have been as, if not more, entertaining, and some of us might have learned about the real life courage and fortitude of a man that gave up six years of his life undercover, and six more testifying, to rip the heart out of an evil crime family.
                Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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                • #9
                  I think some of the worst efforts were the Hollywood versions on some of the original Bond Stories.
                  Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                  • #10
                    The Sharpe TV series... I was disappointed

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
                      The Sharpe TV series... I was disappointed
                      Agree.
                      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                      • #12
                        Lord of the Rings, far and above in my opinion the best.
                        "I am the Lorax, and I'll yell and I'll shout for the fine things on earth that are on their way out!"

                        ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax


                        "The trouble with Scotland...is that it's full of Scots!"

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                        • #13
                          The Sharpe TV series... I was disappointed
                          Amen.
                          dit: Lirelou

                          Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
                            The Sharpe TV series... I was disappointed
                            The whole Sharp Series just seemed too small! I guess with the limited budget they couldn't do large battle scenes as depicted in the books. The Battle of Waterloo looks like it was fought between about 40 men on each side.
                            "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                            Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Hornblower TV series.

                              Not that it was bad,particularly:- indeed it was a handsome production overall:- but it could have been far better had the original plot lines as written by C.S.Forester been observed.
                              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                              Samuel Johnson.

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