Readers, for the daily double jackpot prize (our unbridled enthusiasm and gratitude), we Chicks want to know: What movie-based-on-a-book (or vice versa) do you feel most strongly about–positively or negatively? **Extra points if you give the answer in the form of a clue!**
What movie featured a delightfully perky British nanny, while the book character of the same name was prickly, vain, and demanding? (Possibly much like the author herself, if the film based on her frosty interactions with Walt Disney is true. I suspect it is. I read the whole series in my grade school library. Brrr…)
Bonus: What movie that came out around the same time (and starred the same actress) was a lot more fun than the autobiography of the Austrian girl who would never be a nun?
I’m going old school and giving a shout-out to the 1930s versions of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, and the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol, starring Alistair Sim. All three are classics for a reason. They’re flawless translations of the original material to the screen. All are in black and white, not color, and for some reason, I think that helps. I don’t know why.
I read a funny story, though, about the making of Wuthering Heights. Merle Oberon played Cathy and David Niven played Edgar Linton, the man she married instead of Heathcliff, who was played by Laurence Olivier. During the filming of Cathy’s death scene, Niven apparently got a case of the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing. A ticked-off Oberon insisted he be re-blocked to stand further away from her. That’s why when she dies, Niven is at the foot of his beloved wife’s bed instead of by her side.
While The Princess Bride was in production, I was biting my fingernails. I had a very special interest in seeing how that would turn out, given that my dream ever since I was a kid who fell in love with that book (my whole family did) was to turn it into a movie. Never mind that I wasn’t a producer or director or in any way associated with Hollywood–I hadn’t even graduated from college yet–but I planned to figure all that out when the time came.
When the film was released, I was almost afraid to go to the theater and see it…the book meant so much to us and what if it was horrible? But of course it was fabulous and heartwarming and lovely. THANK GOODNESS.
I vote for The Wizard of Oz as the best movie rendition of a book. Although the book is quite good (and rather odd, as well), the movie version—in this Chick’s humble opinion—ranks up there as one of the very best films ever made. And I’ve often thought that trivia questions from the movie would be the best way to trip up a foreign spy posing as an American, as we all (at least of a certain age) pretty much know the movie dialogue by heart.
And another hat tip goes to the Inspector Morse TV series, which is SOOOO much better than the books. As for worst movie version of a book, that honor has to go to the abysmal film version of The Hobbit. Oy.
I think I’ll go with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I love both the book and the movie—a lot—but I think the movie edges out the book just a teensy bit because of Gregory Peck and Mary Badham’s portrayals. She, btw, had never acted before and at 10, was the youngest to be nominated for an Oscar. She lost out to Patty Duke for “The Miracle Worker.” Do not get me started on Harper Lee’s sequel GO SET A WATCHMAN, though. Ugh. I have issues. So many issues.
A movie that was better than the book was the John Wayne version of “True Grit.” And two that spring to mind that do justice to the books are “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.”
Say it with me …. “Towanda!!!”
Usually, I love the book and am meh (or happy enough) with the movie adaptation. The exception to this rule was a series of films based on…
This series of books (complete with original poetry, songs, and languages) was originally intended to be published in one big volume by the author. Super hint: One ring to rule them all.
(Apologies in advance to Tolkien fans. I really had a hard time with the books in the series because of all the poetry and songs interrupting the narrative.) Anyway, I adore the films. The movie trilogy was shot simultaneously in New Zealand. The cinematography is amazing, and I loved all the created magical lands, particularly Rivendell.
Fun fact: I didn’t realize that Lord of the Rings was split into multiple movies and was super frustrated at the “end” of the first film.
Readers, we’d love to hear your responses to our choices–but please feel free to add your own Best/Worst book or movie adaptation nominees in the comments below!