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View Diary: Mystery Book Club: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (31 comments)

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  •  Thanks for the background on P.D. James (13+ / 0-)

    If I wrote a character I enjoyed, and some director and actress saw fit to steal her out from under my pen, I'd write a book where she came out clearer and stronger as I saw her: I'd steal her right back.

    I look forward to next week's discussion.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:58:09 PM PDT

    •  Remember when John Le Carre (6+ / 0-)

      said he couldn't write George Smiley any more because the Smiley in his head had been replaced by Alec Guinness? That must have been devastating.

      •  I always prefer reading books before watching (7+ / 0-)

        their adaptations. I'd rather collaborate with the author's signals, to bring the characters to life in my imagination. And this applies on many levels - I love a book that works with me to create a world, and requires I invest my mind, heart and spirit in it. Once you've done that collaborating and made the book sing in your imagination, it's okay to sit back and see a directors interpretation of it.

        But Alec Guinness has mad skills, and could indeed charm a hero right out from under the author's aegis.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:31:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Alec Guinness does indeed have mad skillz (6+ / 0-)

          Wow, he gave the ONLY good performance in the original Star Wars...and they killed him off! I am still furious about that. Every.single.other.actor.sucked. Only the special effects were good: dialogue was wooden, acting was wooden, direction was obviously terrible (except for special effects)...really it was only watchable FOR the effects.

          But sometimes rotten novels make brilliant movies. Tara the Antisocial and I have to agree to disagree, but I loved the film version of First Wives' Club and loathed the novel: mediocre writing at best. Tara loved the book and hated the film. So, there ya go.

          English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

          by Youffraita on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:05:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My theory is, mediocre novels make better movies (7+ / 0-)

            OK, not always, but often. Directors get smitten by amazing books, and then hold them like porcelain, too preciously. They try to get get every nuance and hue just as the author might have wished. Now, at it's finest (Merchant-Ivory craft these well), you get a faithful recreation of exactly what you expect.

            But a bold director who happens on a mediocre novel that inspires them will seize a few strong ideas from it, and whip up something much more original. Heart of Darkness was good but pretty short; Apocalypse Now blew it to another dimension. Some like the book Being There - I found it slight. But Sellers captured this brilliant balance of profound and superficial which enchanted, and gave Kosinski's satire a heart.

            Luckily, I saw Star Wars when I was too young to know any better, and enjoyed all of it. But Kind Hearts and Coronets was the one I was thinking of, when I said mad skills.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:37:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you about (6+ / 0-)

              mediocre books making better movies...although I wouldn't call Heart of Darkness mediocre, just short.

              Unfortunately, I have never seen Kind Hearts and Coronets. But...I remember a friend of mine, much more schooled in these things than I was then, who said, basically, that if every actor in a movie gives a great performance, the director gets the credit. If ONE or TWO in the cast give great performances but everyone else is mediocre, those actors get the credit.

              And that's what I saw in Star Wars: Only one terrific performance, and it was Sir Alec Guinness, and they killed him off!

              English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

              by Youffraita on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:49:17 PM PDT

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              •  Peter Sellers had a knack for stealing movies (5+ / 0-)

                The Pink Panther was meant to be a David Niven vehicle. Sellers was also one of the best at getting other actors to corpse (laugh out of turn) on camera.

                Star Wars: Chewbacca did alright, with the script he was given. And Harrison Ford did better than that.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:57:32 PM PDT

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            •  Did you read Rosemary's Baby? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, Susan from 29, Limelite

              The movie was true to it and both were good, albeit absurd.

              High Fidelity was a good book and movie, although they just resembled each other a lot. Some of the problem was that the book was English and the movie American.

              This is a good topic and I would like to continue, but I've got to visit my mother this morning, so my time is limited.

              •  For a comprehensive theory, we'd look at hundreds (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Susan from 29, Limelite, susans

                of movies, measure their quality (?), and compare them with their source books. I was just speaking anecdotally: I've been surprised by how many great movies came out of middling books, and vice versa.

                But another factor is how well-known and revered the book is. It's hard to take a beloved book like To Kill a Mockingbird, and do it justice in the eyes of those who have absorbed it repeatedly. Though, in that case, Robert Mulligan succeeded.

                A lot of great movies these days come from fantastic books that not too many people have read (find a fresh masterpiece from Japan or Sweden, for instance). This gives a director rich source material, with less expectations constraining their portrayal. Conversely, it's hard to make a movie with a rabid fan base, who are so invested in their own vision of the work.

                Peter Jackson managed Lord of the Rings splendidly, against huge odds. But the exact excellences of that work are highly debatable.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:11:14 AM PDT

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              •  Rosemary's Baby was one that I preferred in the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, susans

                book version. Only because my imagination is far creepier than anything that Hollywood could put on a screen.

          •  I hear what you're saying (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, Susan from 29, Limelite

            but some of us get googly eyed in the presence of good looking, shoot first, blaster wielding scoundrels. Just because no one has ever called you "Princess"...

            •  This was such great fun (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, Susan from 29, Limelite, susans

              I just have to add that my favorite Alec Guinness movie was Tunes of Glory possibly because I was so young (and "stage struck") at the time, but it has held up well for me.  I certainly understand Le Carre's difficulty.

              Interestingly at a charity celebration of Gielgud's 100th birthday in London (blind luck took me there and allowed me admission), one of the luminaries told a story of Gielgud stepping in for Guinness the implication of which was that Guinness had lost his ability to perform on stage.

            •  I loved the first Star Wars. I reminded me of the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, susans

              delightful, fun adventure stories of my youth.

              And really, how could you possibly not love C-3PO? Or R2D2?

    •  The Book Thief! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Susan from 29

      becomes the Character Thief.

      Why not write the novel?

      ;^)

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:20:29 PM PDT

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