Reading the Classics discussion

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Chat > Movies that were better than the book!

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message 1: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I know they don't come around very often, but occasionally a filmmaker improves on a classic. My favorite example is North and South. After seeing the miniseries with Richard Armitage, I read the book and was disappointed. The ending in particular was much improved by BBC. I did read later that Gaskell was being rushed to wrap up the story, so perhaps she would have preferred the revisions as well! Any other books that were improved on film?


message 2: by Nathalia (new)

Nathalia | 14 comments I read "North and South" before seeing the series, but I liked them equally well, though the ending was better in the movie, but nothing a Victorian writer could have written.
I think a lot of BBC Series do the books justice, but can they be considered movies, because of their length? Having to cut out half the book to fit it into 1 1/2 hours does make a difference.

Another movie that comes to mind was "Gone with the Wind", where the movie summed it up nicely. Maybe I felt like that, because the book was tedious to read, and I would rather spend the time to watch a movie than spend hours and hours reading something that is not that good.


message 3: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I'm probably biased because "Gone with the Wind" was my favorite book as a teenager, but I thought the movie was just as good as the book, not better. I can't imagine anyone else ever nailing Scarlett and Rhett like Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable did.

And yes, you're right about the difference between a movie and a miniseries. No one will ever top the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, but it couldn't have been as fantastic in two hours.


message 4: by Loraine (new)

Loraine H. | 5 comments I don't think the book is a classic, the film certainly is, but The Godfather adaptation is infinitely better than the novel.


message 5: by LadyDisdain (new)

LadyDisdain Hmm, it's kind of difficult to think of a film adaptation that's better than the novel, kind of a rarity I think, though I've yet to read/watch North & South, so I'll reserve judgment on that ;)


message 6: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl GWTW was a great book. Parts of it are very funny. The plot and characters are brilliant, and Mitchell is quite a good writer. No, it's not James Joyce or anything, but it is very good. The movie was good too - in an abridged way. It's an apples to oranges comparison.

I haven't read The Godfather but the film was brilliant, and the only Mario Puzo I read was horrendous.


message 7: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Although I liked the book The Thin Man, I thought that it wasn't quite as good as the movie with William Powell.


message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles Moody | 2 comments For me, Dr. Zhivago and possibly The English Patient come to mind in this category.

I've started watching the North and South mini-series based on the endorsement in this discussion.


message 9: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 219 comments Tom Jones.


message 10: by Elsa (new)

Elsa | 20 comments It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book is almost always better than the film, but there are some exceptions. My biggest disappointment ever was with “The last of the Mohicans”, I love the film and the book is so bad! The other cases, for me, are: “Dracula” (book Vs Francis Ford Coppola film), “The painted veil”, “Out of Africa”, “Shawshank redemption”.
I love Gone with the wind (film), but for me the book is better, the film cut one of my favorite characters: Will Benteen. I also liked North & South, but it’s one of those (rare) cases where I think that the book and the film are equally good, like Pride and Prejudice (1995). I hope I’m not offending anyone when I say that I can’t watch Pride and Prejudice (2005 film), there's so many things that was misrepresented that I don’t even know where to start criticizing.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 219 comments Elsa wrote: "I hope I’m not offending anyone when I say that I can’t watch Pride and Prejudice (2005 film), there's so many things that was misrepresented that I don’t even know where to start criticizing. "

You're not offending me at all. I totally agree.


message 12: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Blade Runner


message 13: by Elsa (new)

Elsa | 20 comments You're not offending me at all. I totally agree.
:) I'm glad I'm not alone in this.


message 14: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I've hated every Austen film adaptation (and I'm pretty sure I've seen them all) except for the 1995 P&P miniseries which is superb.

There are parts of some of them which are okay (Jeremy Northam for example in Emma is pretty good - but the entire thing is ruined by G. Paltrow).


message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim (crossreactivity) The Kate Beckinsale version of Emma is pretty good, except I didn't care for the actor who portrayed Mr. Knightly.


message 16: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 106 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "I've hated every Austen film adaptation (and I'm pretty sure I've seen them all) except for the 1995 P&P miniseries which is superb.

There are parts of some of them which are okay (Jeremy Northa..."


I quite like the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds adaptation of Persuasion.


message 17: by Phil (new)

Phil (lanark) Re: Austen adaptations.
Clueless is a brilliant adaptation of Emma (although not "better" than the novel), and the Ang Lee / Emma Thompson movie of Sense and Sensibility is just about THE perfect movie adaptation of an Austen novel.

As far as other films go, I seem to remember lots of films that are better then the books that inspired them ....James Bond films spring to mind.


message 18: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments The Princess Bride, although I did enjoy the book as well.


message 19: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Good one, Alana--my children are now in their 40's and 50's and can STILL recite lines from the film :-)


message 20: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Psh, LINES? I can probably quote the entire film! ;-)


message 21: by Phil (new)

Phil (lanark) Also many Daphne du Maurier books have,made better films: TheBirds, Don't look Now, Rebecca etc. The movie of Death in Venice is better thanMann's novella, Fight Club the movie is better than the novel ...


message 22: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Alana wrote: "Psh, LINES? I can probably quote the entire film! ;-)"

ROFL, so true!

Vizzini: Finish him. Finish him, your way.

Fezzik: Oh good, my way. Thank you Vizzini... what's my way?

Vizzini: Pick up one of those rocks, get behind a boulder, in a few minutes the man in black will come running around the bend, the minute his head is in view, hit it with the rock.

Fezzik: My way's not very sportsman-like.


message 23: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Julia wrote: "Alana wrote: "Psh, LINES? I can probably quote the entire film! ;-)"

ROFL, so true!

Vizzini: Finish him. Finish him, your way.

Fezzik: Oh good, my way. Thank you Vizzini... what's my way?

Vi..."


LOL!

See? The Cliffs of Insanity!


message 24: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I haven't seen an adaptation of Rebecca that I've been satisfied with yet. I wish someone would do it justice.


message 25: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Is there more than one? I thought there was only one older adaptation.


message 26: by Colleen (new)

Colleen There was a made-for-TV movie a couple of years ago.


message 27: by Kate (new)

Kate | 22 comments The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Johnny Depp's characterisation of Ichabod Crane is totally different from the book, but for the better, I think. It definitely draws in a broader audience.


message 28: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 29 comments Kate wrote: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Johnny Depp's characterisation of Ichabod Crane is totally different from the book, but for the better, I think. It definitely draws in a broader..."

I agree with you. I love that movie.


message 29: by Andrijana (new)

Andrijana | 5 comments The Color Purple... I watched that movie lots of times when I was young girl. I was fascinated by its story, acting, picture, music... I was always crying at least two times during that movie. Afterwards, I read the same book by Alice Walker, and I can't explain how that happened, but I didn't like it, in fact I was a little bit disappointed, it was not that emotion. Strange, because for me every book is better than movie. I guess it's not always the truth.


message 30: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Denise wrote: "Lobstergirl wrote: "I've hated every Austen film adaptation (and I'm pretty sure I've seen them all) except for the 1995 P&P miniseries which is superb.

There are parts of some of them which are okay (Jeremy Northa..."

I quite like the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds adaptation of Persuasion. "


Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. (Which is sad because I own it.) That one is excellent, superb.


message 31: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I finally watch perks of being a wallflower today after seriously disliking the book. Honestly I just didn't like Charlie's voice in the book and I got to enjoy the story without the overly simplistic writing in the movie.


sonny (no longer in use) (satyrica) | 4 comments black and white Rebecca is brilliant and the innocents is way better than turn of the screw


message 33: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Alexandra, I haven't watched the movie because I disliked the book so much, but you're making me rethink that.


message 34: by Leslie (new)

Leslie sonny wrote: "black and white Rebecca is brilliant and the innocents is way better than turn of the screw"

I agree that The Innocents was better than the book - I found the book to be boring but the movie was pretty spooky :)


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 219 comments Will be interested in those who are reading Peter Pan exchanging views on whether the movie or the book are better.


message 36: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Probably depends on which movie version. There are quite a few. Peter Pan play, Peter Pan Disney film, Hook, among other things.


message 37: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) Virginia wrote: "Kate wrote: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Johnny Depp's characterisation of Ichabod Crane is totally different from the book, but for the better, I think. It definitely draws..."

I agree! The movie was much more interesting and enriched. I liked the book but it almost felt like an outline of what the story could have been.


message 38: by Madge (new)

Madge (madge_the_bibliomaniac) Alana wrote: "The Princess Bride, although I did enjoy the book as well."

I hated the book. It's in my "top five worst books" category, at least for now. I adore the movie, but that book was almost painful to read, for me at least. Most people attack me when I say I disliked it, but I thought the movie was worlds better.


message 39: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 219 comments Wyllow wrote: "Alana wrote: "The Princess Bride, although I did enjoy the book as well."

I hated the book. It's in my "top five worst books" category, at least for now. I adore the movie, but that b..."


I can't say I hated the book, but I agree that the movie was superb.


message 40: by Emily (new)

Emily (emilymitton) | 7 comments Elsa wrote: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book is almost always better than the film, but there are some exceptions. My biggest disappointment ever was with “The last of the Mohicans”, I love t..."

I agree with you completely about "The Last of the Mohicans." I love the movie but it was so hard to get through the book. It took me forever!

I would also have to add The Count of Monte Cristo. The ending in the movie (at least in the 2002 version) is much more satisfactory to me. Although maybe I just liked it better because the book was so long and drawn out.


message 41: by majoringinliterature (last edited Dec 09, 2013 11:31PM) (new)

majoringinliterature | 12 comments I agree with Stardust and The Princess Bride. I think with both of them, especially The Princess Bride, the book and the movie are two very different things. Both are done well in their own way, and the approach the scriptwriters took to the movie is vastly different to the book. It means that the movie isn't a slave to the book, it's inspired and guided by it.

I'd also add The Jane Austen Book Club. I remember reading the book and hating it, but I didn't mind the movie. They actually made a few interesting points about Austen's novels, which I was happy with.


message 42: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) I know plenty will disagree with me, but for me the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a wonderful, zany romp through Adams' world. I LOVED Mos Def as Ford Prefect, and it was the first time I saw Martin Freeman in action as Arthur Dent (long before SHERLOCK and THE HOBBIT).

Alan Rickman voicing Marvin the robot was perfect, and when Bill Nighy showed up as Slartibartfast, he was a gem. Stephen Fry narrated the whole thing so well--and then here's a scene on youtube of the opening dolphin song that I keep in my favorites, just to make me smile :-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_dUm...


message 43: by Renee (new)

Renee Julia wrote: "I know plenty will disagree with me, but for me the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a wonderful, zany romp through Adams' world. I LOVED Mos Def as Ford Prefect, and it w..."

I just finished the books a few months ago and I love the whole series. I had some problems with the movie. It was okay, but I really preferred the BBC miniseries myself. Of course, I saw the miniseries first, so that may have something to do with it. It's old, cheesy and funny.


message 44: by Annika (new)

Annika | 2 comments Elsa wrote: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book is almost always better than the film, but there are some exceptions. My biggest disappointment ever was with “The last of the Mohicans”, I love t..."

I completely agree about the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice. I refuse to watch it. I got about 20 minutes in and left it there.


majoringinliterature | 12 comments Julia wrote: "I know plenty will disagree with me, but for me the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a wonderful, zany romp through Adams' world. I LOVED Mos Def as Ford Prefect, and it w..."

I agree, Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry were just perfect in that film. I read the book after seeing the movie, so in my head the narrator sounded exactly like Stephen Fry.


message 46: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Annika wrote: "I completely agree about the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice. I refuse to watch it. I got about 20 minutes in and left it there..."

I felt this way about the 1998 version of Les Misérables. On the other hand, I think that the 1935 film was better than the book…


message 47: by Elsa (new)

Elsa | 20 comments Annika wrote: "Elsa wrote: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book is almost always better than the film, but there are some exceptions. My biggest disappointment ever was with “The last of the Mohica..."

I went to the the cinema to see it, and I was almost expelled from the room. I spent the entire film saying things like “why they have pigs inside the house?”, “Lizzy would NEVER show up at Netherfield with her hair down”, “Darcy go inside Lizzy’s bedroom to give her the letter?! Really!?” , “if Jane Austen saw this !”. It was really disappointing.


message 48: by majoringinliterature (last edited Dec 11, 2013 06:53PM) (new)

majoringinliterature | 12 comments Elsa wrote: "I went to the the cinema to see it, and I was almost expelled from the room. I spent the entire film saying things like “why they have pigs inside the house?”, “Lizzy would NEVER show up at Netherfield with her hair down”, “Darcy go inside Lizzy’s bedroom to give her the letter?! Really!?” , “if Jane Austen saw this !”. It was really disappointing."

I must admit, the first time I watched it I wasn't bothered by these things. I was about fourteen, so I just wanted to see Elizabeth and Darcy end up together. But then the next time I watched it I realised just how unrealistic it was. It makes the Bennets look much poorer than they actually are in the book. It also makes the Darcy-Elizabeth marriage look more unbelievable than it appears in the book, since the Bennets are so poor they have farm animals running through the corridors. Now it bugs me so much I can barely watch the movie.

I think the director was influenced by film versions of Bronte novels. All those sweeping landscape shots, the dirt and the mud, gives it this feeling of sensuality which is completely absent in the book. I think the filmmakers felt like they had to save Austen for modern audiences, to make them think that Austen was all about passion and deep emotion like the Brontes are, when in reality she's all about controlling emotion.


message 49: by Michaela (new)

Michaela Mason (randommuffintpk) | 7 comments This isn't a classic or anything, but I think that "Austenland," the film adapted from the Shannon Hale book, was better than the book. It was about ten times funnier and I saw it in theaters 5 times. I only read the book once.


message 50: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments I just finished the book yesterday and found it hilariously funny, although I think I had to be in just the right mood for it. Watching it as a movie sounds ridiculous to me though, but you're making me rethink that, Michaela.


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