“Twilight” captured the box office last week and it got me thinking about the connection between books and Hollywood.
I can remember in high school claiming that I was going to write the Great American Novel and then pen the screenplay based on the book. Ah, the ignorance of youth.
I’m still plugging away on my great novels, but the allure of a film version has waned. I love books and pretty much any movie made from a book I’ve read will guarantee my presence in the theater. But sometimes when I hear that one of my favorite books is being made into a film, I cringe. (Can anyone say “Eragon?”) Most bookworms would probably agree that the movie is never as good as the book, but sometimes film makers do manage to get it right.
I’m a purist. I hate when they change a great story for a movie. There are only two films that have thrilled me as much on the screen as they did on the page. “Presumed Innocent,” by Scott Turow had spot on casting with Harrison Ford and the script stuck closely to the book. And when the Disney/Walden film “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” came out in 2005, my son and I stood in line on opening day. It took our breath away. Seamless animation, stunning cinematography and fabulous casting combined to make this my favorite adaptation of all time.
Sometimes small screen versions of books do well, especially when they become a mini-series. “Roots,” “Brideshead Revisited,” and “The Thornbirds” all attracted large audiences. And while the television show “Little House on the Prarie” had little to do with the actual books, it had me hooked for years.
So what about you? What books did you enjoy on the silver screen? Which ones should Hollywood have left alone?