Thursday, September 19, 2013

And now starring ...

Good books can make good movies. This is especially true if the script is true to the book. This doesn't mean a movie should doggedly follow a book. Film and novels are different mediums. They present stories through different senses, so there must be an adaptation from one media to another. Gifted scriptwriters know how to do this, as can be seen in Lonesome Dove. The reverse is seldom true. When novels are written to take advantage of a hit movie, they are invariably cinematic, not literary.

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On the other hand, can good movies be made about books? BookRiot has published a list of 17 movies starring books. There are some good films on this list, but they make me wonder. Do writers get tired of making heroes out of cops and detectives, Cowboys on horseback or in pickups, teenage vampire killers, or even people working in exceptionally boring crime labs? Do they decide, hey, what about us? We can be heroic … and besides, we control the keyboard.

Don’t know, but movies about books are much more interesting than movies about writing. I mean, how exciting is writer’s block? Does the actor type faster to pick up the pace of the story? The pen is mightier than the sword, but a typewriter makes an awkward weapon. Writers can be interesting characters, but outside the author’s mind, writing looks as dull as running a DNA test. Humm? Anyway, the better movies on this list focus on the writers and their books, not the act of creation.

By the way, where is Little Women on this list?

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