From Page To Screen
Watching a film adaptation of a favorite book is a big gamble. Can a director possibly match the movie that you’ve made in your head while you were reading the book? Nine times out of ten, the movie does not measure up to these expectations. Theese ten movies are my choise of ten film adaptations that were rather succesful.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Filmmakers did an amazing job of casting the roles, although there are also other reasons. I love the fact that British actors were cast instead of an American “star du jour.” The makers of this movie also did a fantastic job creating those other worldly images like the quidditch match and Diagon Alley.
Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million.
The film was released in the United Kingdom and United States in November 2001. It received a mostly positive critical reception, made more than $974 million at the worldwide box office and was nominated for many awards, including the Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
Director: Chris Columbus
Writers: J.K. Rowling (novel), Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Richard Harris
2. The Wizard of Oz
This classic movie actually borrows features from several books from Baum’s Oz series. I can even forgive the director for changing the silver shoes to ‘ruby red slippers.’ He had a good reason, namely that this was one of the first movies made in color. The film has stood the test of time and has motivated many children to read all of the Oz books.
Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend & comrade, My Wife”, Maud Gage Baum.
Director: Victor Fleming
Writers: Noel Langley (screenplay), Florence Ryerson (screenplay)
Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan and Ray Bolger
3. A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess.This cinematic adaptation was produced, directed, and written by Stanley Kubrick. It features disturbing, violent images, to facilitate social commentary about psychiatry, youth gangs, and other contemporary social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian, future Britain. A Clockwork Orange features a soundtrack comprising mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Walter Carlos (later known as Wendy Carlos). The now-iconic poster of A Clockwork Orange, and its images, were created by designer Bill Gold. The film also holds the Guinness World Record for being the first film in media history to use the Dolby Sound system.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Anthony Burgess (novel)
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee and Warren Clark
4. Fight Club
Fight Club is a 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor’s exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, he finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. Then he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy.In 1999, director David Fincher adapted the novel into a film of the same name, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The film acquired a cult following despite lower than expected box-office results. The film’s notoriety heightened the profile of the novel and that of Palahniuk.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
5. The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The films, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003),were directed by Peter Jackson and distributed by New Line Cinema. Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious movie projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $285 million, the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in Jackson’s native New Zealand. Each film in the trilogy also had Special Extended Editions, released on DVD a year after the theatrical releases. While the films follow the book’s general storyline, they do omit some of the plot elements from the novel and include some additions to and other deviations from the source material.
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh (screenplay)
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom
Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith’s non-fiction book of the same name. The Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joint production stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr…
Zodiac tells the story of the hunt for a notorious serial killer known as “Zodiac” who killed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving several victims in his wake and taunting police with letters and ciphers mailed to newspapers.Fincher, screenwriter James Vanderbilt, and producer Brad Fischer spent 18 months conducting their own investigation and research into the Zodiac murders.Reviews for the film were highly positive. However, it did not perform strongly at the North American box office, grossing only USD $33 million. It performed better in other parts of the world.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Robert Graysmith (book)
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo
7. The Shining
The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song “Instant Karma!”, which contained the line “We all shine on…”. A film based upon the book, The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980. The book was later adapted into a television mini-series in 1997.This psychological horror film was co-written with novelist Diane Johnson.Unlike most films by Stanley Kubrick, which saw a slow gradual release building on word-of-mouth, The Shining was released in a manner more like a mass-market film, opening at first in just two cities on Memorial Day, and then a month later seeing a nationwide release.Although initial response to the film was mixed, later critical assessment had been more favorable and it is now viewed as a classic of the horror genre. Film director Martin Scorsese, writing in The Daily Beast, ranked it as one of the best horror films.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stephen King (novel), Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd
Trainspotting is a 1996 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. The movie follows a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh and their passage through life.The film has been ranked 10th spot by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of Top 100 British films of all time. In 2004 the film was voted the best Scottish film of all time in a general public poll.
Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Irvine Welsh (novel), John Hodge (screenplay)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller
9. Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. The film follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training and depicts some of the experiences of two of them in the Tet Offensive (1968) during the Vietnam War. The film title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by infantry riflemen.Film scholar Greg Jenkins has done a detailed analysis of the transition of the story from book to film.The novel is in three parts, while the film largely discards Part III, and massively expands the book’s relatively brief first part about the boot camp on Parris Island. Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader labeled it “the most tightly crafted Kubrick film since Dr. Strangelove”. Variety referred to the film as an “intense, schematic, superbly made” drama, while Vincent Canby of the New York Times called it “harrowing” and “beautiful.” Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert had a dissenting view, stating the film was “strangely shapeless”, giving it 2.5 stars – a “thumbs down” by Ebert’s standards.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Gustav Hasford (novel), Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)
Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D’Onofrio
10. 9½ Weeks
9½ Weeks is a 1986 erotic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. It is based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth McNeill.The film was not a major success commercially in the United States, grossing only $7 million at the box office from a $17 million budget. In addition, it received mixed reviews. However, despite its only moderate success in North America, the film acquired a large fanbase on video and was a huge success internationally. The film is now well known for its erotic sadomasochistic content. The film spawned two direct-to-video sequels, Another 9½ Weeks (1997) and The First 9½ Weeks (1998).
Director: Adrian Lyne
Writers: Sarah Kernochan, Zalman King
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger and Margaret Whitton