Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'd Rather Read The Book

Many successful books are eventually made into movies. I seldom like what Hollywood does to a good book. There are always exceptions but somehow, the movie always leaves me feeling dissatsified and occasionally a little frustrated. Give me a good book anytime!

It feels to me as if the Hollywood moguls prefer to pick the brain of a successful writer rather than finding a brand new movie script writer. It's got to be easier to take a successful book than to start from scratch. It's what they do with that book that sometimes bothers me. Directors and producers tend to eliminate important parts of the book. Too long.  Not enough action. Who cares about the background material? But worse is when they change the ending. That drives me crazy! 

My Book Club once read Captain Correlli's Mandolin written by Louis de Berniere. Everyone loved the book, so when the movie came out, we all wanted to see it. Big mistake! It didn't come close to the story in the book. Too much was left out. Historical events were glossed over loosely and often incorrectly. The screenplay was written by another individual. 

I have no idea if the novelist is ever consulted once he signs a contract selling his story to Hollywood. I'm guessing there are major restrictions which an author can overlook because of the big bucks return he will get. But what happens when the author settles back into a theater seat and watches what someone else did to HIS story? 

I don't know what per cent of authors also get to write the screenplay of their novel, but I'm guessing it is quite low. Hollywood has their own stable and think they are better. As a moviegoer, I can't often agree with that. 

One of the books made into movies that I did think was well done was The Help. One of the reasons that I think it worked is because the producer/director was a personal friend of the author--Kathryn Stockett. He used her as a consultant on the film and stayed true to the novel she'd written. Besides that, the casting was superb. 

Gone With The Wind is another example of a movie that was outstanding and stayed true to the book. Even so, I preferred reading it to seeing the movie. Maybe that's just a personal hang-up with me. How do you feel? Would you rather read the book or see the movie? Or do both and compare? Let us know.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, we have more in common than our first names....I'd rather read the book too. Every book I've read that has been turned into a movie has always been the better of the two. Many times the author signs over all creative rights for the movie or TV show. A case in point is the recent TV series "Under the Dome." The book is written by Stephen King, but the screenplay for the series is done by someone else. People who have never read the book may think it is fine, but I am sure King's readers will be disappointed from what I hear about the adaptation. Good blog subject!