Kim in Baltimore enjoying the air conditioning and a cool glass of watermelon lemonade.
I’m going to do a dangerous thing. I’m going to read a book and then see the movie! What’s that you say? Don’t do it? I know, I know! I set myself up this way every time. Although most novels make a disappointing show on the big screen, a few have managed to capture the essence of the author’s story. I loved Practical Magic, the fabulous book by Alice Hoffman turned into an equally fabulous (in my opinion) movie starring Aiden Quinn. I think Sandra Bullock was in it, too, but who knows once Aiden Quinn hits the screen! To Kill A Mockingbird and Gone With The Wind are two of my other favorites.
People are passionate over the books they love and are not forgiving when Hollywood botches up a story the reader holds dear. I am a great fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I was thrilled when I learned Ms. Evanovich modeled her character after Sandra Bullock. That was exactly who I saw as I read each novel. When there was talk of One For The Money being filmed, I was overjoyed. That fizzled fast enough when word spread that Katherine Heigl – not Sandra Bullock – was to play the lead role. I gave it a chance anyway. Who wouldn’t want to see Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur? I was sorely disappointed.
This time will be different, though, I’m sure of it. While sitting in The Charles Theatre taking part in their weekly revival series, I saw the coming attractions for My Cousin Rachel starring Rachel Weisz. It looked good enough that I felt I’d be willing to pay for a full price movie ticket. I had read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca several times and had seen the 1940 movie as well, but I’d never read My Cousin Rachel. I made haste to my local library and borrowed a copy. I was only halfway through the novel when I realized the movie was showing at my beloved Charles Theater. I was truly torn about going before I’d completed the book, but didn’t want to miss it’s run at my favorite movie house.
Just as in every great novel, my life had a major plot twist before I could make it to the cinema. My husband ended up having heart surgery on the very day we had planned to see the movie. He recovered at an amazing speed, but we have yet to see the film. I might need to wait until it’s on Netflix at this rate.
The book kept me company over these past weeks and the story now is as close to me as a dear friend. I’m counting on Rachel Weisz not to disappoint me.
Readers: What books do you think were turned into enjoyable movies? Which ones should have stayed on the pages?
I guess I’ll have to hit up my library for same! So glad your husband has made a swift and healthy recovery, Kim. I have said before here that I unabashedly love Bridges of Madison County, and I also read the book. In that case I think the movie is better.
I also enjoyed that book and saw the movie even though one of my least favorite actors – Clint Eastwood – had a starring role. If Meryl Streep starred in 50 Shades of Grey, I’d see that, too!
I love My Cousin Rachel the book, so I’m anxious to see the movie, too. Of course, it didn’t appear in the hinterlands of Delaware…A favorite book to movie is Philomena starring Judi Dench. I would also add The Fault in Our Stars, the Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Silver Linings Playbook as good adaptations. The Hunger Games series did (mostly) okay in representing the novels, and of course I love Harry Potter. I’m a big fan of Liane Moriarty, and enjoyed Big Little Lies on HBO though there were numerous changes. Finally (wow, I’m babbling!), I am REALLY looking forward to the film adaptation of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
I loved, loved, loved Silver Linings Playbook even though I was first hesitant to see it. I’ve yet to read the book. Harry Potter is fabulous. I can’t believe I didn’t think of those!! I have not seen or read the others, I’m sorry to say. Must add them to my list.
I thought The Help was an enjoyable movie, and as good as the book. Without A Trace (1983), the movie based on Beth Gutcheon’s book, Still Missing, was excellent. I enjoyed it more than the book. I saw the movie Not Without My Daughter several times before reading the book and enjoyed it. But once I read the book, which was PHENOMENAL, I haven’t watched the movie again since. Jane Austin’s books have been made into great movies by the BBC. I haven’t read the books yet, but two movies I really loved were The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks (I heard the book was very different and had some supernatural stuff in it); and Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. I’m determined to read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes before watching the movie, and Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult, before the movie comes out.
More to add to my ever-growing list! With the exception of Jane Austin, I have not read nor have I seen any of those you’ve listed. You know, I take that back. I do remember seeing Sally Fields in Not Without My Daughter, but I didn’t even realize it was taken from a book. I must get out more!
I remember reading Ivanhoe as a child and not being a fan. Then as an adult I watched the miniseries that aired on A&E with Ciaran Hinds. It was so engrossing that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t liked the book. After watching the series I re-read the book. I still didn’t like it. The actors brought so much to characters, that to me, felt flat on the pages.
Isn’t it odd when a production of the work is better than the original novel? I need to read Ivanhoe. Do you think that maybe some stories are not timeless and need some fresh paint, so to speak?
Perhaps it was a novel that was of its time or maybe it just isn’t for me. Either way, I loved what the actors did with the screen version.
Others have mentioned Harry Potter. Also Lord of the Rings (The Hobbit not so much, although Martin Freeman did an awesome Bilbo). They had changes but they were true to the spirit.
One where I think the movie was better: The Princess Bride. People have tried to tell me I’m wrong, but I stand by my assessment.
I have never seen the Lord of the Rings movies. I must get on the ball!
So glad your husband is recovering well! I agree with you on Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird and Practical Magic.
I love all the movies made from Nick Hornby’s books, About a Boy (also with Rachel Weisz–whom I love), High Fidelity and Fever Pitch. Even though the movies are very different from the books–each stands on its own.
Barb, I forgot all about Nick Hornby and I have seen and read those!
Gone Girl was done well but The Girl on the Train was terribly done. I agree on Gone With The Wind-it was nicely done. Practical Magic was very good. Stephanie Plum’s One for the Money was absolutely terrible and made me much less of a fan of Katherine Heigel. Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians has been done many times, some good, some not so much. Sometimes it is better to wait for some of the reviews before spending the money! Sometimes what works well in a book isn’t interpreted very well for the screen!
I am anxious to see Murder on the Orient Express though I can’t imagine it could ever surpass the 1974 version with Albert Finney. I love that one!
Should have said-“And then There Were None” but I have no doubt anyone would recognize it.!
I’m so glad to hear your husband is doing well.
I actually think The Princess Bride is a much better movie than book. The book tries to be clever and funny and isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.
While the sequels have been disappointing, especially Dawn Treader, I really thought that the big screen version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe did a wonderful job bring that book to life.
All the actors seemed to have so much fun in The Princess Bride. Do you think any of them read the book before filming?
I forgot about the Princess Bride! Yes, good book, great movie.
Larry McMurtry has said the movie Hud made from his first novel, Horseman Pass By is better than the book. The director, Martin Ritt, realized Hud was the more interesting character, whereas McMurtry had written it as a coming of age story about Lonnie, a sort of a western Catcher in the Rye.
Speaking of McMurtry, Lonesome Dove, GREAT book, GREAT TV.
I loved Lonesome Dove!
I usually try to read the book before seeing a movie. One that I thought was poorly done was The Other Boleyn Girl. The book was too long to try to put into a movie. One that I liked the movie better was the recent Hidden Figures.
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