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August 2012: Movie/TV Adaptation Month

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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boswellbaxter
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August 2012: Movie/TV Adaptation Month

Post by boswellbaxter » Wed August 1st, 2012, 12:29 pm

Our theme this month is Movie/TV Adaptation Month. I'll get us started by asking two questions.

What's your favorite adaptation of a historical novel or a classic novel? Mine would be the adaptation of Dickens' Our Mutual Friend done back in the 1990's.

What's your least favorite adaptation of a historical novel or a classic novel? Hands down, mine is the adaptation of Mansfield Park by Patricia Rozema, which distorted Jane Austen's characters beyond recognition. It would have been bearable if the director had just forgotten about the Jane Austen novel altogether and invented brand-new characters.
Susan Higginbotham
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Wed August 1st, 2012, 1:00 pm

My favourite is probably Ang Lee's film version of Sense and Sensibility.

Least favourite - probably the Ralph Fiennes/Juliette Binoche version of Wuthering Heights (although most versions of this have been pretty dire) - both good actors in other films, but this one is a complete and utter disaster. Oh yes, and the Charles Laughton version of Jamaica Inn - changed most of the book, and characters, beyond all recognition. Beyond bad.
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J.D. Oswald
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Post by J.D. Oswald » Wed August 1st, 2012, 2:27 pm

I agree with Madeleine about Sense and Sensibility, my favourite Austen adaptation.

I also really like the film The Man Who Would Be King, with Sean Connery and Michael Caine.

TV adaptations would be a toss-up between The Forsyte Saga, with Damian Lewis as Soames, and Brideshead Revisited.

Least favourite probably the recent Pride & Prejudice film with Keira Knightley. I found some of the characterisation and dialogue rather too modern, although it's difficult not to be always comparing it with the BBC series.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Wed August 1st, 2012, 2:53 pm

Oh yes, Brideshead is probably my favourite TV adaptation. The Forsyte Saga was also good - I'm too young to remember the original version which many people still think was the best one.

I hated the KK version of P and P, although mainly because she was so annoying in it! Plus it was a fairly pointless remake, as there have been so many other, better, versions.
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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed August 1st, 2012, 3:11 pm

I haven't thought about this at length but I have to highlight La Reine Margot, the 1994 film of the Dumas novel as a standout movie adaptation of a historical novel.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Wed August 1st, 2012, 4:24 pm

Sir Laurence Oliver and Joan Fontaine's version of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca has to be one of my favourites. I do like the modern version of The Forsyte Saga and am quite sad that they didn't continue with it. I do actually remember the old one, but not enough to compare! I liked Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. I also enjoyed Wuthering Heights with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff.

I can't think of one I didn't particularly enjoy at the moment.
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Post by erechwydd » Wed August 1st, 2012, 6:07 pm

The BBC's 2004 TV adaptation of North and South is definitely one of my favourites. I didn't like what they did with the ending - although I can see why they did it from a dramatic point of view - but on the whole I remember it as pretty faithful to the novel and, even when it deviated, it still worked.

My least favourite so far would probably be the BBC's recent Great Expectations. Magwitch and Miss Havisham were two characters I thought came over particularly well, and Joe was as I'd imagined, but it just seemed...kind of dull, lacking that characteristic Dickensian flair and humour.

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Post by Nefret » Wed August 1st, 2012, 8:02 pm

My favourite... the Emma movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, and Emma mini-series with Romola Garai. There are many others I've enjoyed too.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed August 1st, 2012, 11:35 pm

I thought the movie version of The Help did a very good job, considering how little time they had to tell a complicated story.

Gone with the Wind
had the same problem--too much story for the time allowed--and Selznick and whoever wrote the screenplay had to carve it down to the essential story.

I have mixed feelings about the movie version of Lord of the Rings. I loved the Fellowship, was bored with all the endless battle in the Two Towers, and felt about half-and-half on the Return of the King.

I loved the PBS Poldark series, which made me go and read the books. I noticed that several liberties had been taken after the fact, so I can't say how I would have felt if I had read the book first.

Worst book-to-film? Disney's Jungle Book. I was outraged, when, as a child, I saw what had been done to my favorite Kipling, turning a thoughtful coming-of-age story into a childish joke, and even changing one of the main good guys (Kaa, the python) into a bad guy!

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Nefret
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Post by Nefret » Wed August 1st, 2012, 11:39 pm

I think Gone with the Wind would make a good mini-series.

I sorta liked the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, until I read the book, and watched the 1995 mini-series again.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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