Pages on Screens

By Alix G. RSS Thu, May 19, 2011

If you read my blog extolling the virtues of Agatha Christie several weeks ago, you won’t be surprised to know that I was really excited when I found out about an upcoming film version of her classic story The Crooked House, which Christie always noted was one of her favorite works.

I love when one of my favorite books “comes to life” on the big screen, and you can bet I’ll be there opening day to see if the film lives up to what was written in the pages. Some of my favorite book-to-screen adaptations are:

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1936): In this classic film noir, Lana Turner and John Garfield bring James Cain’s gritty, troubled lovers to life, while the camera angles, lighting, and scene-directing bring new meaning to the words “pulp fiction.”

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961): Although the screen version of Truman Capote’s novella falls away from the plot and tone of the original story, Audrey Hepburn’s work as Holly Golightly is breathtaking, so much so that you can forgive the discrepancies between page and film. Though it is said Capote initially had Marilyn Monroe in line for the role, Hepburn makes it her own, and her portrayal of Holly is one of the most memorable in her long career.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): Gregory Peck’s embodiment of Atticus Finch earned him an Academy Award in the film version of Harper Lee’s classic tale, which also picked up an Oscar for Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971): How do you make a Roald Dahl classic be even more fanciful? Singing! From Oompa Loompas to Willy Wonka to the bevy of odd-but-endearing kids, everyone’s got a tune to hum in this fun, colorful, and sometimes-downright-creepy adaptation of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

Pride and Prejudice (1995): Look no further: Colin Firth is the ultimate Darcy. And in this nearly six-hours-long BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice the casting, acting, scenery, and story adaptation are spot on. If you aren’t a Jane Austen fan, you will be after watching this piece!

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001): Firth takes another stoic turn at a Darcy, in a lively, funny, and ultimately sweet adaptation of Helen Fielding’s piece of breakout British chick-lit, which also stars Hugh Grant and Renee Zellwegger.

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One my favorite books to film is Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. Dame Judi Dench did a fantastic job bringing lonely school teacher Barbara to life. I recommend the book and movie!
Camille T. - East Oak Lane
Friday, May 20, 2011