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Re: books and movies

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  • Margaret L. Carter
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 13, 2012
      <Finding books rewarding after seeing the movie first is your 
      experience, and good for you.  But it's not others'.  I could extend further 
      my list of books I found vertiginously disturbing after the movie, to 
      include every Disney movie ever made which then led me to the book, 
      including, yes, Peter Pan, and also Pinocchio, and especially, above all 
      others, Mary Poppins.> 

      This perspective surprises me, too. I've often (more often than not, in fact) been disappointed by movies made from books I've read. In fact, my recommendation to someone who plans to both see a movie and read the book is, given a choice, to see the movie first.

      Reason: If one reads the book first and enjoys it, one will often find the movie a letdown because so much will often be changed, and inevitably some things will be left out.

      OTOH, if one sees and likes the movie, reading the book will usually be an even greater pleasure because "here's everything that was in the movie, but so much more and better."

      Given, of course, that the movie has a recognizable resemblance to its literary source.

      I hadn't thought about the risk of a bad film's turning off a potential fan from ever reading the book in the first place. I can see where that could happen.

      More often than not, I've read books before watching the movies based on them and tend to think I would have enjoyed the film experience more in the reverse order. I wouldn't have been mentally griping about the changes and omissions throughout the viewing.

      Aside from Disney's PINOCCHIO, my first clearly recalled experience (I saw PINOCCHIO to remember it clearly after I'd read the original, I think) of first seeing a film and then reading the book was GONE WITH THE WIND. I enjoyed the movie but liked the book even more. If I'd read the book first, I might have found the movie's few, necessary simplifications of the story (such as omitting two of Scarlett's children) off-putting.

      I remember only two film-to-book experiences when I found the book disappointing: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT was one. The other was the Father Dowling mysteries. After watching many episodes of the TV series, I tried to read one of the books. Didn't even finish it. Nothing wrong with it (as far as I could say without finishing the story), but it was such a letdown to find it nothing like the series. No madcap nun, no radical young assistant priest (played on TV by the actor who played Hart in THE PAPER CHASE), not one bit of humor. The TV show made something quite different out of the books, as far as I could tell from the sample I tried.

      Now, there's a case where the books and the film adaptation really could be seen as two different things with the same name. I just happened to prefer the latter.

      Margaret Carter
    • Margaret L. Carter
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 12, 2013
        <Long personal experience, already cited by me in this
        conversation, with having tried books based on movies I've seen
        and being so disconcerted by the differences that I disliked the
        book, regardless of whether I might have liked it otherwise.>
        My experience has been almost uniformly opposite. I've discovered that if I'm planning to watch a movie made from a book I haven't read, it's far better for me to see the movie first, then read the book. The other way around is almost     bound to be a letdown. If I read the book after watching the film I've enjoyed, I'm likely to be delighted with all the   incidents and nuances in the book that weren't in the film. If I read the book first, I'm very likely to be disappointed    by the omissions or outright flaws in the film.

        I've often been disappointed in movies after reading the books first, hardly ever the other way around. Exceptions I     can recall: ROGER RABBIT -- the book seemed almost dull after the film. The Father Dowling mysteries -- the TV series was rather lighweight, but I found it a lot of fun. I tried to read one of the books; it contained not a hint of humor     and lacked my two favorite characters from the series, the nun and the young assistant priest. If I had read the book    first, I probably would have been able to enjoy the series with the idea that I was viewing an alternate universe           rendition of the book's world. (That's the only way I've managed to enjoy TRUE BLOOD after the first season. It has     veered SO far from the Sookie Stackhouse novels.)

        Margaret Carter
      • icelofangeln
        Verhoeven s Starship Troopers is something of a special case: a director who actively hated the book, and intentionally set out to trash it. ... Other
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 12, 2013

          Verhoeven's Starship Troopers is something of a special case:  a director who actively hated the book, and intentionally set out to trash it.


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          Other original-story classic films? The Sting. Rear Window. Vertigo. The Wild Bunch. High Noon. 2001. On the Waterfront. Sunset Boulevard.

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