Now for Booking Through Thursday:
1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)
For the first, I'd say the movie a few years back of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (surprise! I just checked, and I'd spelled his name right). I thought it really captured the spirit and the wit of Jane Austen's novel. I also enjoyed the big-screen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility a while back with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.
I also enjoyed the very long movie adaptation of Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit. It's been nearly 20 years since it came out, but it was true to the characters and to Dickens's story. I'll have to watch it again one day.
Hands down, my least favorite movie adaptation of a book was the one of Mansfield Park by Patricia Rozema. It was bad enough that the director chose to turn Austen's novel into a feminist and anti-slavery tract, she couldn't even do it consistently. One minute Sir Thomas Bertram, in his role as Oppressive Rich Male Patriarch, is bullying Fanny, the next he's sitting meekly as Mary Crawford lectures him. At the end of the movie, Fanny cheerfully tells the camera that Sir Thomas has divested himself of his plantation in the West Indies (and presumably of the slaves thereon) and has turned to investing in tobacco instead. This is supposed to be a good thing, it appears, but who does the director think was harvesting the tobacco in the American South at the time? (Hint: not the United Agricultural Workers.) Then there's Henry Crawford copulating with Maria Bertram and grinning when Fanny catches him, and the ridiculous lesbian pass Mary makes at Fanny, and the portrayal of the shallow Tom Bertram in the movie as a tormented-artist type, and . . . Well, I'd have to see it again to list all the things I disliked about this movie. As I recall it had some nice scenes in Portsmouth, but not nice enough to save the movie.
Oh, and with all of these movies, I'd read the book first. I might have hated the movie of Mansfield Park a little less if I hadn't read the book.