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Movie versions replacing originals

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  • spark654@aol.com
    In a message dated 12/31/02 9:08:23 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... It doesn t take iron control. All it takes is getting on with life and refusing to obsess
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 31, 2002
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      In a message dated 12/31/02 9:08:23 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      mythsoc@yahoogroups.com writes:


      > And it's not a matter of "allowing". Have you never had a tune you
      > disliked stuck in your head, and you couldn't get it out and stop thinking
      > of it? If not, you're probably the only person who never has. The rest of
      >
      > us humans don't have such iron control over our mental associations.

      It doesn't take iron control. All it takes is getting on with life and
      refusing to obsess over something. You're a Tolkien scholar, not a Jackson
      scholar. There's plenty more to think about than just these films.

      It
      >
      > took me ten years to excise the images and voices of Bakshi's film from my
      > mind when re-reading the book, and I don't think that's unusual or bizarre.

      I do. Sorry, but that strikes me as very odd indeed.


      >
      > A couple weeks ago - perhaps this was before you joined the list - Susan
      > Palwick suggested that maybe I should just not see the films. But that
      > wouldn't be enough to keep them out of my head. Not only would I have to
      > abdicate all my credentials as a Tolkien expert in the outside world, but
      > I'd have to drop off this list and abandon Tolkien fandom altogether. Oh
      > yes, and I'd have to stay out of bookstores and avoid watching television
      > for six months around the release of each film. That's not practical.


      I think you're obsessing a bit here. The world can't be tailored to your
      tastes--I know you know that--and most adults learn to shut out things they
      deem unimportant. Not entirely, of course, but...well, Britney Spears is all
      over the place, and I don't think of her when I am reading about a woman her
      age.


      >
      >
      > >You're actually making the point of the person whose criticism you
      > dislike.
      > >I mean, if someone so well-versed in the books cannot lump them together,
      > why
      > >should the critic you mentioned do a better job of it?
      >
      > I don't follow this at all. Perhaps you mean "if someone so well-versed in
      >
      > the books finds it difficult to avoid lumping them together ..."

      Yes, sorry about that.


      >
      >
      > (clip)
      >
      > > From my point of view, a lot of Two Towers criticism is by people who are
      > >angry not that the movie didn't match the book but that it didn't match
      > THEIR
      > >interpretation of the book.

      (clip)

      >
      >
      >
      >
      > The James Cain story you present in another post - "The book is still on
      > the shelf" - is a tired old argument that completely and utterly misses the
      >
      > point. Here's what I wrote about that in _Beyond Bree_:

      Just because you don't like it, that doesn't make it untrue. What he says is
      absolutely true: the existence of a movie in no way affects the books already
      out there.




      >
      > "Will the book [survive]? In some cases, alas, it does not, and novels from
      >
      > which films have been made are sometimes replaced in bookstores by
      > novelizations of the film.

      This "replacement" is extremely rare--I can think of "The Man Who Would Be
      King" and a few others. What usually happens is a book is republished with
      the cover art reflecting the film campaign.

      Novelizations are made from original scripts, mostly.

      To be frank, the "novelization" boogeyman is the true "tired old argument."
      I never read them, but those (mostly young) people who do read them are being
      drawn to a book by a film. In the overwhleming majority of the cases, the
      novelization is new, not the replacement of a novel already in existence
      (though again, that has happened).

      People who are looking for something to attack about an adaptation have
      plenty of legitimate targets not to have to drag this one in--a book exists
      before and after a film version. Most film versions of books come out long
      after the book has dropped off the bestseller lists. A film version will
      promote the book, selling at least one or two additional copies.

      The Tolkien Estate's vigilance, and the
      >
      > voluntary restraint of the filmmakers and publishers, will prevent that in
      > this case. But the copies of LOTR in the bookstores today have photos from
      > the film on the cover. It is deliberately difficult to buy a new copy of
      > the book today while ignoring the film. But what about the long run?
      > Members of the audience cited _The Wizard of Oz_ as a book which has
      > survived a film very different from it. But though the book is there to be
      > read, it's been buried by the film, and so in a sense it has not really
      > survived.

      The original Wizard has so many scenes that were not translated to the screen
      that it indeed has survived. How many times has one heard the phrase "The
      book was better than the movie"? Enough to convince me that, your own
      situation notwithstanding, most people have no trouble separating the two.

      That film has so pervaded our culture that it is impossible for a
      >
      > reader to come to the book now with a fresh eye. I regularly see articles
      > attempting forlornly to unbury Baum's Oz from assumptions based on the
      > film, and introduce it afresh to readers with no idea what a very different
      >
      > experience it is. Unless Jackson's film is completely unsuccessful and
      > sinks without trace like Bakshi's, which is most unlikely, it will change
      > utterly our views of the book."
      >
      >
      >
      > - David Bratman
      >


      Sparkdog


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      ... But you would _inevitably_ think of her were you reading a story about a person named Britney Spears!
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 31, 2002
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        On Tuesday, December 31, 2002, at 02:58 PM, spark654@... wrote:

        > Britney Spears is all over the place, and I don't think of her when I
        > am reading about a woman her age.

        But you would _inevitably_ think of her were you reading a story about
        a person named Britney Spears!
      • Stolzi@aol.com
        In a message dated 12/31/2002 1:59:41 PM Central Standard Time, ... But it DOES affect =the response of the public= to the books already out there. DP
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 31, 2002
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          In a message dated 12/31/2002 1:59:41 PM Central Standard Time,
          spark654@... writes:


          > the existence of a movie in no way affects the books already
          > out there.
          >

          But it DOES affect =the response of the public= to the books already out
          there.

          DP


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David S Bratman
          ... Oh, come on. Are you being deliberately obtuse? First, the stuck in my head does not mean obsessing about the film, it means an inability to not think
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 1, 2003
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            At 02:58 PM 12/31/2002 -0500, Sparkdog wrote:

            > > And it's not a matter of "allowing". Have you never had a tune you
            > > disliked stuck in your head, and you couldn't get it out and stop thinking
            > > of it? If not, you're probably the only person who never has. The
            > rest of
            > >
            > > us humans don't have such iron control over our mental associations.
            >
            >It doesn't take iron control. All it takes is getting on with life and
            >refusing to obsess over something. You're a Tolkien scholar, not a Jackson
            >scholar. There's plenty more to think about than just these films.

            Oh, come on. Are you being deliberately obtuse? First, the "stuck in my
            head" does not mean obsessing about the film, it means an inability to not
            think about the film when reading the book, as I discuss later on in this
            post, and discussed in an earlier one in this thread also.

            Second, my initial post was about how being a Tolkien scholar FORCES me to
            be a Jackson scholar also, _if_ I'm to comprehend and talk intelligibly
            with people who know the film better, think it represents the book, or are
            apt to confuse the two. This is the real world, Sparkdog: these people
            exist, and I'm going to be talking to them. I'm talking right now to a
            person in the first and possibly the second categories.

            Thirdly, I am doing much else with my life, and am hardly obsessing over
            this any more than you are: I doubt my total wordage on the subject here,
            since you showed up, exceeds yours. My only obsession is over making my
            points clear, and if I had succeeded in doing so, you would have dropped
            the subject first, and then so would I.


            >most adults learn to shut out things they deem
            >unimportant. Not entirely, of course, but...well, Britney Spears is all over
            >the place, and I don't think of her when I am reading about a woman her age.

            Few adults learn to shut out things that are constantly blasted at
            them. That's why I used the case of annoying catchy songs, a common
            complaint out here in the real world - Dave Barry wrote an entire book
            about the subject. And when something is central to your life, as Tolkien
            is to mine, mutilations of it are going to be especially painful.

            Not all young women are inaccurate film adaptations of Britney Spears, and
            I beg leave to doubt how ubiquitous she is: I've heard of her, but though
            I've probably heard her songs (on store muzak, which is the only place I
            hear popular music these days) I've never _knowingly_ heard any, and I
            wouldn't recognize her on the street. Possibly if I neither knew nor cared
            about Tolkien I'd be equally oblivious to ads for Jackson's film, but as it
            is they draw themselves to my eye without any desire on my part.


            > > The James Cain story you present in another post - "The book is still on
            > > the shelf" - is a tired old argument that completely and utterly misses
            > the
            > > point. Here's what I wrote about that in _Beyond Bree_:
            >
            >Just because you don't like it, that doesn't make it untrue. What he says is
            >absolutely true: the existence of a movie in no way affects the books already
            >out there.

            It's still untrue, despite assertions to the contrary. That's why I
            mentioned novelizations of the movie: they may be rare, but they do
            happen. Their mere existence, however rare, falsifies the general truth of
            Cain's argument. Then there are movie tie-in covers: maybe not a big deal,
            but they most emphatically affect the books on the bookstore shelves. And
            there are other ways to affect the books than physically. Onward:


            >To be frank, the "novelization" boogeyman is the true "tired old argument."
            >I never read them, but those (mostly young) people who do read them are being
            >drawn to a book by a film. In the overwhleming majority of the cases, the
            >novelization is new, not the replacement of a novel already in existence
            >(though again, that has happened).

            No, it's not a tired argument: it's a side point, but it's necessary to
            make because it proves the general Cain argument to be untrue as a
            universal. And these novelizations are dangerously misleading: I've seen
            warning labels on bookstore shelves: "This is not the original novel!"


            >People who are looking for something to attack about an adaptation have
            >plenty of legitimate targets not to have to drag this one in--a book exists
            >before and after a film version. Most film versions of books come out long
            >after the book has dropped off the bestseller lists. A film version will
            >promote the book, selling at least one or two additional copies.

            To people whose image of the story was formed by the movie, and will be
            AFFECTED by that. That is the way it mostly affects the book. Let me
            summarize:

            1. Novelizations (of films made from a novel) and film tie-in covers affect
            the PHYSICAL book. They are a minor case, and don't affect it often: but
            they prove the physical book CAN be affected.

            2. Reading a book in the wake of the film affects one's PERCEPTION of the
            book, and thus affects the MENTAL book, even if you're reading a copy that
            existed before the film was conceived. And I don't want to hear any
            arguments about how the film doesn't affect your perception: ANYTHING can
            affect your perception of a book, most notably the age you read it at. The
            LOTR I read today is not the same book I read at age 12, even though the
            text is unchanged. The LOTR first read by people raised on a diet of D&D
            and Tolclones is not the same book as the LOTR first read by people who'd
            never encountered anything like it before. (Jokes in which youngsters
            claim Jackson's film to be a ripoff of earlier fantasy films are
            legion.) These differences are so obvious as to be platitudes; only a
            epic, detailed, captivating film dramatization of a book is somehow claimed
            to have no effect whatever on the mental state or image of the reader. You
            told me I was "very odd" for finding that it does have an effect. That's
            absurd.

            In the wise words of Alexei Kondratiev, "It is entirely possible that
            readers who come to the book after the movie will be unable to imagine
            those characters as looking like anything other than those actors, and that
            this will eventually become a convention -- a built-in tradition in Tolkien
            illustration, perhaps. The movie will definitely have restricted the
            potential scope of a reader's spontaneous imaginative response to Tolkien's
            words."


            >The original Wizard has so many scenes that were not translated to the screen
            >that it indeed has survived. How many times has one heard the phrase "The
            >book was better than the movie"? Enough to convince me that, your own
            >situation notwithstanding, most people have no trouble separating the two.

            I've not heard that phrase very often at all about "The Wizard of Oz",
            actually. Nor can I think of anything in the book alone that has the kind
            of popular survival value of the movie's famous catch-phrases. The book is
            buried beneath the film, and that despite the fact that it is a relatively
            famous (in its own right) book that is relatively often-read. If it were
            obscurer on its own than it is, but if there were no film, it would not be
            buried this way.

            Despite the ability of people to separately evaluate books and movies,
            they, or at least many others, often confuse elements in them. Lastly, I
            object to your referring to my own situation as confusing book and
            movie. I said only that I might run that risk if I don't keep my
            familiarity of the book up to speed. It was the web commentator I linked
            to who actually confused them. I've seen many such confusions in the past,
            and many more attempts to resurrect books from underneath better-known
            films of them.

            - David Bratman
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