Thursday, July 12, 2007

An Interview With Michelle Moran, and Booking Through Thursday

First, if you haven't seen it, we over at Yesterday Revisited, a blog to which I contribute, interviewed author Michelle Moran about her novel Nefertiti. It's certainly on my TBR list!

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.

4 comments:

--Deb said...

Clearly, you're a better woman than I am--I couldn't get through more than 10 minutes of that Mansfield Park movie. A travesty! I mean, I wouldn't have objected to Fanny having a LITTLE more backbone, but . . .sheesh!

acr2angel said...

The best book to movie translation: To Kill A Mockingbird.

The worst book to movie transation: Blood and Chocolate (now having said that, I liked both the book and the movie...but the movie resembled the book only in that the characters had the same names and some of them were vampires). The book was set in the United States. The movie was set in Europe somewhere.

acr2angel said...

I saw To Kill A Mockingbird before I read it. Didn't make any difference. I loved both of them.

I read Blood and Chocolate before I saw the movie. I liked them both...but felt they were two separate works of art related only by their titles.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, all!

Deb, the only reason I sat through all of Mansfield Park was that it was Christmas Day and that the alternative was going home to eat leftover turkey and to be told by my in-laws how I should be raising my children. But it was a hard decision nonetheless.