Saturday, April 22, 2006

Book to Film Adaptations

Here are a couple of news items that have appeared in The Guardian this week.

Following on from my piece about the short story in Britain (back in January), The Guardian now reports that the short story is undergoing a revitalisation in Britain, and the success of the Asham Award, which has celebrated its 10th anniversary this week, is just one reflection of this revival. The award was launched to promote new women writers, and the winning stories will be published in an anthology alongside stories specially commissioned from established writers.

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Meanwhile The Guardian, in conjunction with Borders and Waterstones, has revealed a list of the top 50 film-book adaptations. A panel of experts has drawn up the list, which will be voted on by the public; the bookshops will promote the books in shops. Jane Austen is included once, for Pride and Prejudice oddly, rather than Emma Thompson's Oscar-winning adaptation of Sense and Sensibility directed by Ang Lee. And whilst I personally would agree that most of the film versions of J K Rowling's Harry Potter books are poor, I'm surprised that Peter Jackson's epic adaptations of The Lord of the Rings are missing, as are E M Forster's Howards End and A Room With a View. Children's literature is represented by Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Jungle Book, A Kestrel for a Knave (aka Kes), The Railway Children and Watership Down, although there is no indication which version of any of the 50 listed films is meant when more than one version has been made. Given the rather odd nature of The Guardian's list, I wondered which film-book adaptations you favour ? I'm not asking for 50 - a shortlist of 5 will suffice, but if anyone wants to offer a longer list, feel free. I'll compile a Scholar's Blog list collated from your suggestions at a later stage.


fusenumber8 said...

Though it's evil to its core, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for that bizarre Disney/Dali combo found in "Alice In Wonderland". I was impressed with the inclusion of "The Railway Children" too. Still... "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"??? Really? Really really?

Michele said...

I suppose it depends which version of the film they mean. Do they mean Johnny Depp's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was fairly true to the book) or do they mean Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka, which wasn't ?

ThursdayNext said...

I think it ridiculous that Forster's novels adapted by Merchant Ivory were not on this list, especially A Room With a View. I think that movie is the best adaption of a novel turned film.

I think the English Patient is actually better on film than it is in print. I say that without any biased towards Ralph Fiennes. (Ahem)

Michele said...

It's a peculiar list... It caused quite a storm of disapproval on the Guardian's own Blog, with many people scandalised at what had been left out - or included, and in particular the American bias (ie. the fact that many films based on foreign novels had been ignored).