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Artemis@BC
02-03-2011, 10:26 PM
I'm firmly of the belief that it's almost impossible for film to be as good as a really great piece of literature -- part of what makes it great lit is the fact that the novel (or short story) is its ideal genre. However some of my favourite movies have been made from mediocre books -- books that have a great story, but aren't terribly well written. For others it's because the film does a better job of letting you see & hear things (like action scenes or music). For still others, it's just really good acting that bring the stories & characters alive better than the prose could.

Some that I can think of off the top of my head:

~ The Milagro Beanfield War -- one of my fave movies ever, but a pretty meh book
~ Ordinary People -- ditto
~ The da Vinci Code -- not the best movie ever but still miles better than the book
~ The Name of the Rose -- better than the book just because the translation was so turgid. (that and Sean Connery :swoon:)
~ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc. -- these ones are close, but I think the extraneous details & "research" -- plus all the Swedish political references -- in the book give the film a slight edge here. (Haven't seen Hornet's Nest yet.)
~ The Committments -- nothing wrong with the book, but it's about music for hank's sake, so obviously a film is a better genre
~ The Constant Gardener -- good book, but excellent movie
~ Primary Colors -- ditto
~ The Emperor's Club
~ Fried Green Tomatoes
~ Paper Moon

There are few of movies that I think tied their books for excellence, or at least came very close. One that leaps to mind is To Kill a Mockingbird -- thanks in part to the superb acting. And The Shawshank Redemption. The movies made from Nick Hornby's books have been about equal their novels too, like High Fidelity and About a Boy.

Of course I'm sure there are other movies I've loved based on books I never read ...

skatingfan5
02-03-2011, 10:37 PM
Since I haven't read much fiction published post 190th c., I can't comment at all on movies based upon them. However, I do have one movie to add to this thread, even if I haven't read the book: The Bridges of Madison County. I thought the movie was not bad (and Meryl Streep was excellent). The book, on the other hand, was given to me by a friend who said "you have to read this -- you'll love it!" I couldn't get past page 5 -- Robert Waller's writing was :yikes: :scream:

IceAlisa
02-03-2011, 10:43 PM
Under the Tuscan Sun. The book was insufferable self-congratulatory crap. The movie and Diane Lane were lovely.

algonquin
02-03-2011, 10:46 PM
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was my least favourite book of the series, but it wasn't a bad movie.

Nomad
02-03-2011, 11:00 PM
To Have and Have Not. Loved the movie, disliked the book.

Wyliefan
02-03-2011, 11:11 PM
Now, Voyager.

KikiSashaFan
02-03-2011, 11:56 PM
I was also going to say To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't know if it was better, but it did the book justice.

znachki
02-04-2011, 12:04 AM
The movie Jaws - miles better than the book. In the book the Richard Dreyfus character was a blond stud who had an affair with the sherriff's wife. Talk about suspense killing subplot!

ITA about To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Shawshank Redemption. Also, from the same Stephen King book of novellas - Stand By Me aka The Body.

I also thought that the AS Byatt novella Morpho Eugenia was very wel adapted into Angels and InsectsI think that over all, the novella is the perfect length for movie adaptation.

orbitz7391
02-04-2011, 12:58 AM
Stephen King's Carrie.

smurfy
02-04-2011, 01:04 AM
I also thought that the AS Byatt novella Morpho Eugenia was very wel adapted into Angels and InsectsI think that over all, the novella is the perfect length for movie adaptation.

I loved Byatt's book 'Possession'. Movie was ok, but will have to look up this novella. Loved Angels & Insects.

falling_dance
02-04-2011, 01:07 AM
The Shining (1980)

Buzz
02-04-2011, 01:19 AM
The Kite Runner. Both the book and novel were great but I liked the movie a bit more. :)

algonquin
02-04-2011, 02:11 AM
I was also going to say To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't know if it was better, but it did the book justice.The movie was not better than the book, but did it great justice.

vesperholly
02-04-2011, 02:41 AM
The Cider House Rules. The book is depressing and meandering.

attyfan
02-04-2011, 02:56 AM
I preferred the film (1940 version) of "The Maltese Falcon" to the book, but the book was good ... and the film did it justice.