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winter 2013-14 075

OK…so I don’t know what the title means, either.  I just needed one.  Flashy stuff?  I am guessing my brain was thinking of what movies are...lush, romantic, dark, dreamy, and flashy.

Movies from books and books from movies are on my mind again because I just watched another film of War and Peace.  This one was done by King Vidor with Audrey Hepburn as Natasha, Mel Ferrer as Prince Andre, and Henry Fonda as Pierre.  It was in color.  There are parts I liked better than the other film I watched, but basically, I liked the 2007 film better with Clemence Poesy, Alexander Beyer and Alessio Boni.  The result of watching both films in the last few weeks is that I found my copy of War and Peace and put it on my TBR pile for a re-read.  I think it will be my third time, but it has been quite a while since I read it last.

I read Regeneration by Barker a few weeks ago and I hunted up my copy of the film Behind the Lines that I watched some years ago that led me to read the book and its sequels.  I will be re-watching that soon.

I also just finished watching The Irish RM series 1 with Peter Bowles based on the book by Somerville and Ross.  I loved the book and the dvd is a riot.  It brought the book to life.

I had only read one story, but there are three books available through the Gutenberg Project:

Some Experiences of an Irish R.M

... My landlord was there on horseback, and with him there was a man standing at the head of a stout grey animal. I recognised with despair that I was about to be compelled to buy a horse.

"Good afternoon, Major," said Mr. Knox in his slow, sing-song brogue; "it's rather soon to be paying you a visit, but I thought you might be in a hurry to see the horse I was telling you of."

I could have laughed. As if I were ever in a hurry to see a horse! I thanked him, and suggested that it was rather wet for horse-dealing.

"Oh, it's nothing when you're used to it," replied Mr. Knox. His gloveless hands were red and wet, the rain ran down his nose, and his covert coat was soaked to a sodden brown. I thought that I did not want to become used to it. My relations with horses have been of a purely military character, I have endured the Sandhurst riding-school, I have galloped for an impetuous general, I have been steward at regimental races, but none of these feats have altered my opinion that the horse, as a means of locomotion, is obsolete. Nevertheless, the man who accepts a resident magistracy in the south-west of Ireland voluntarily retires into the prehistoric age; to institute a stable became inevitable.

"You ought to throw a leg over him," said Mr. Knox, "and you're welcome to take him over a fence or two if you like. He's a nice flippant jumper."

Even to my unexacting eye the grey horse did not seem to promise flippancy, nor did I at all desire to find that quality in him. I explained that I wanted something to drive, and not to ride.

"Well, that's a fine raking horse in harness," said Mr. Knox, looking at me with his serious grey eyes, "and you'd drive him with a sop of hay in his mouth. Bring him up here, Michael."

Michael abandoned his efforts to kick the grey horse's forelegs into a becoming position, and led him up to me.

I regarded him from under my umbrella with a quite unreasonable disfavour. He had the dreadful beauty of a horse in a toy-shop, as chubby, as wooden, and as conscientiously dappled, but it was unreasonable to urge this as an objection, and I was incapable of finding any more technical drawback. Yielding to circumstance, I "threw my leg" over the brute, and after pacing gravely round the quadrangle that formed the yard, and jolting to my entrance gate and back, I decided that as he had neither fallen down nor kicked me off, it was worth paying twenty-five pounds for him, if only to get in out of the rain.

Further Experiences of an Irish R.M.

In Mr. Knox's Country

  I have a lot of favorite books that I think the films did justice to, and several films that I saw before I read the books which I think helped me understand the books better.  

Then there are books that I don’t believe can be filmed.  Winter’s Tale is one of those.  I will have to wait until it comes out on dvd to find out.  There are several books where many films were made and I like some better than others as with War and Peace.  I leave it to you to list movies that failed the books.

My lengthy list of loved films:

Favorite Films from Books That Were Done Well

War and Peace 2007 with Clemence Poesy, Alexander Beyer and Alessio Boni.  

Case Histories with Jackson Brodie based on books by Kate Atkinson

Anne of Green Gables

To Kill a Mocking Bird with Gregory Peck

A Christmas Carol with Randolph Scott

Cannery Row with Nick Nolte

Prince of Tides with Nolte

Lord of the Rings

Harry Potter

The Outsiders with Patrick Swayze

Of Mice and Men

The Three Musketeers, 1973 with Raquel Welch and Michael York

Little Women

The Secret Garden with Maggie Smith

House of Spirits

Ivanhoe with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor

Emma with Paltrow

Pride and Prejudice with Garvie and Rintoul

Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds

Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson

All Creatures Great and Small series

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

The Irish RM

Films that I Saw First that Led Me to Understand the Books Better

A Passage to India

Joy Luck Club


Return of the Native with Catherine Zeta-Jones

Far from the Madding Crowd

Cold Comfort Farm

Onegin with Liv Tyler and Ralph Fiennes

Favorite Films from Books I Have Not Read, Yet. (and may never read in some cases)

Lark Rise to Candleford seasons 1-4  

Lovejoy  (I have heard the series are not as dark as the books)

Star Wars

Yentl (a short story)

Favorite Films based on Legends

First Knight with with Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross

Films based on Plays

A Man for All Seasons with Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw


The Ice Man Cometh with Lee Marvin

The Glass Menagerie

A Street Car Named Desire with Brando

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor

Cyrano de Bergerac with Gérard Depardieu (He was also a real person)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is a fictionalization of his life that follows the broad outlines of it.

The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, very close to the Alexandrine format, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.

Films Based on Real People or Things

The Killing Fields

Shadowlands (C S Lewis and Joy Davidson)

Brian’s Song

Ghosts of Mississippi



Behind the Lines about Dr. Rivers and Siegfried Sassoon

David and Lisa

Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks

Good Night and Good Luck with George Clooney

One Against the Wind with Judy Davis

Schindler's List

Parodies of Books or Films

Without a Clue (parody of Sherlock Holmes with Kingsley and Caine)

Galaxy Quest

The Man with One Red Shoe with Tom Hanks

Other Films that I Loved and Just Had to Mention

Children of a Lesser God

The Sting

The Red Violin

The Seventh Seal

Firefly series with Nathan Fillion

Second Hand Lions

The Man who Planted Trees, animation Frederick Back

The Black Widow

The Man in the Glass Booth

The Enemy Below


What about Bob

Back to the Future I

Cinema Paradiso

Casanova with Ledger

Ladyhawke with Pheiffer

Sweet Liberty with Alda

Educating Rita with Michael Caine

Shining Through with Michael Douglas

Hero with Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis

American Graffiti

Films from Books that Were Not Too Bad, But…

The Martian Chronicles with Rock Hudson

Neverending Story

Musical Films

Cinderella with Brandy  

West Side Story

Oklahoma with Hugh Jackman


Porgy and Bess

Fiddler on the Roof

Music Man

The Phantom of the Opera


The Magic Flute done by Bergman

La Boheme

What are your favorite films?  Has a movie caused you to read the book?  

Diaries of the Week:

Write On! Should you hire an editor?
by SensibleShoes

A Culture of Dignity (Part 2)
by Robert Fuller

Robert Fuller says:

Chapter 49 of The Rowan Tree has been posted:

The Kindle version of The Rowan Tree still free on Kindle:

My memoir Belonging still free via Smashwords:


NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


Which films do you like best?

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