Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Best Novel Adaptations (according to The Guardian)

I am absolutely staggered that my two favorite adaptions did NOT make it onto this list, but see for yourself:


Now how can anyone possibly put together a list of the best novel-to-film adaptations of all time and not include ROSEMARY'S BABY and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS?

Those are the films that got me into film. Those are the novels that got me into novels. Both films are as close to perfect adaptations of the novels as any author could ask for - perfect casting, perfect suspense, perfect production values - and above all, both managed to pull off the dreamlike hypnosis that make those novels horror classics - all in the completely different medium of film. (And if you think that's easy, check out just about any film or TV adaptation of ANY Stephen King novel or story, notable exceptions being THE SHINING (Kubrick's - sincere apologies, Mr. King!) and THE DEAD ZONE.)

I'd sell my soul for that kind of adaptation.

Can you say "horror bias"? Because I can't think of any other explanation.

(full Guardian article somehow not coming up, now, so here's the list:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
Robert Mulligan (1962)
Adapted by Horton Foote from Harper Lee's 1960 novel

2 .One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Milos Forman (1975)
Adapted by Bo Goldman and Lawrence Hauben from the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey

3. Blade Runner
Ridley Scott (1982)
Adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples from the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick

4. The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola (1972)
Adapted by Mario Puzo from his 1969 novel

5. The Remains of the Day
James Ivory (1993)
Adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the 1989 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

6. Kes
Ken Loach (1969)
Adapted by Tony Garnett from the 1968 novel A Kestrel For a Knave by Barry Hines

7. Apocalypse Now
Francis Ford Coppola (1979)
Adapted by Coppola and John Milius from the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

8 .The Shawshank Redemption
Frank Darabont (1994)
Adapted by Darabont from the 1982 short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

9. LA Confidential
Curtis Hanson (1997)
Adapted by Hanson and Brian Helgeland from the 1990 novel by James Ellroy

10. Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee (2005)
Adapted by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry from the 1997 short story by E Annie Proulx

11. A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick (1971)
Adapted by Kubrick from the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess

12. Doctor Zhivago
David Lean (1965)
Adapted by Robert Bolt from the 1957 novel by Boris Pasternak

13. The Maltese Falcon
John Huston (1941)
Adapted by Huston from the 1930 novel by Dashiell Hammett

14. Fight Club
David Fincher (1999)
Adapted by Jim Uhls from the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk

15. The English Patient
Anthony Minghella (1996)
Adapted by Minghella from the 1992 novel by Michael Ondaatje

16. Brighton Rock
John Boulting (1947)
Adapted by Graham Greene and Terence Rattigan from the 1938 novel by Greene

17. Trainspotting
Danny Boyle (1996)
Adapted by John Hodge from the 1993 novel by Irvine Welsh

18. Rebecca
Alfred Hitchcock (1940)
Adapted by Philip MacDonald from the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier

19. Oliver Twist
David Lean (1948)
Adapted by Lean and Stanley Haynes from the 1838 novel by Charles Dickens

20. Schindler's List
Steven Spielberg (1993)
Adapted by Steven Zaillian from the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

21. The Railway Children
dir: Lionel Jeffries (1970)
adapted by Lionel Jeffries from Edith Nesbit's novel

22. Breakfast at Tiffany's
dir: Blake Edwards (1961)
adapted by Truman Capote and George Axelrod from Truman Capote's short story

23. Dangerous Liaisons
dir: Stephen Frears (1988)
adapted by Christopher Hampton from Choderlos de Laclos' novel

24 Orlando
dir: Sally Potter (1992)
adapted by Sally Potter from Virginia Woolf's novel

25 Empire of the Sun
dir: Steven Spielberg (1987)
adapted by Tom Stoppard from JG Ballard's novel

26 Goodfellas
dir: Martin Scorsese (1990)
adapted by Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi from the book by Nicholas Pileggi

27. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
dir: Ronald Neame (1969)
adapted by Jay Presson Allen from Muriel Spark's novel

28. The Talented Mr Ripley
dir: Anthony Minghella (1999)
adapted by Anthony Minghella
from Patricia Highsmith's nove
(This is a remake of Purple Noon/Plein Soleil scripted by Rene Clement and Paul Gegauf.)

29. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
dir: Martin Ritt (1965)
adapted Paul Dehn and Guy Trosper from John le Carré's Novel

30. Lord of the Flies
dir: Peter Brook (1963)
adapted by Peter Brook from William Golding's novel

31. Pride and Prejudice
dir: Joe Wright (2005)
adapted by Deborah Moggach from Jane Austen's novel

32. Sin City
dir: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino (2005)
adapted from Frank Miller's graphic novel

33. The Vanishing
dir: George Sluizer (1993)
adapted by George Sluizer and Tim Krabbé from Tim Krabbé's novel

34. Jaws
dir: Steven Spielberg (1975)
adapted by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb from Peter Benchley's novel

35. Watership Down
dir: Martin Rosen (1978)
adapted by Martin Rosen from Richard Adams' novel

36. Nineteen Eighty-Four
dir: Michael Radford (1984)
adapted by Michael Radford from George Orwell's novel

37. The French Lieutenant's Woman
dir: Karel Reisz (1981)
adapted by Harold Pinter from John Fowles's novel

38. Catch-22
dir: Mike Nichols (1970)
adapted by Buck Henry from Joseph Heller's novel

39. Lolita
dir: Stanley Kubrick (1962)
adapted by Vladimir Nabokov and Stanley Kubrick from Vladimir Nabokov's novel

40. Tess
dir: Roman Polanski (1979)
adapted by Roman Polansky, Gerard Brach, and John Brownjohn from Thomas Hardy's novel

41. Get Shorty
dir: Barry Sonnenfeld (1995)
adapted by Scott Frank from Elmore Leonard's novel

42. The Jungle Book
dir: Wolfgang Reitherman (1967)
adapted by Larry Clemmons, Raph Wright, Ken Anderson, and Vance Gerry from the stories by Rudyard Kipling.

43. Alice
dir: Jan Svankmajer (1988)
adapted by Jan Svanmajer from Lewis Carroll's novel

44. American Psycho
dir: Mary Harron (2000)
adapted Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner from Bret Easton Ellis' novel

45. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
dir: Tim Burton (2005)
adapted by John August from Roald Dahl's novel

46. Devil in a Blue Dress
dir: Carl Franklin (1995)
adapted by Carl Franklin from Walter Mosley's novel

47. Goldfinger
dir: Guy Hamilton (1964)
adapted Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn from Ian Fleming's novel

48. The Day of the Triffids
dir: Steve Sekely (1962)
adapted by Bernard Gordon from John Wyndham's novel
(Phillip Yordan acted as front for the blacklisted Gordon)

49. The Hound of the Baskervilles
dir: Sidney Lanfield (1939)
adapted by Ernest Pascal from Arthur Conan Doyle novella

50. The Outsiders
dir: Francis Ford Coppola (1983)
adapted by Kathleen Rowell from Susan Hinton's novel

Alex XX


Rob Gregory Browne said...

Polanski's adaptation of ROSEMARY'S BABY is probably one of the best ever. And I thought the movie version of LAMBS was actually better than the book.

I have to disagree about THE SHINING though (if I read you correctly). I thought Kubrick's version was, all but the last few moments, a complete bore.

And I LOVE Kurbrick.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

"If I read you correctly... " (Hah! Admit it, my parentheticals are throwing you off. One of my worst writing tics...)

I do love Kubrick's SHINING, although the first time I saw it I was outraged at the deviation from the book. But I've seen it over and over again since then and it never fails to hypnotize me, which is what Stephen King does better than practically anyone and which almost no director has been able to translate onto celluloid. Kubrick went places with the film that I can understand King would take exception to, but for me, no one else has come close to capturing the dream quality of King that Kubrick pulled off.

Have you seen it lately? Because you might be surprised...

Anonymous said...

Now for a little female contribution - I didn't see "Gone With the Wind" on the list, either. I have to admit I was horrified the first time I saw the movie - I later grew to love the movie more than the book. :)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Yike, Kathy, you're right - that's one hell of an omission.

Now that I look more closely - where's WIZARD OF OZ? And MARY POPPINS? Not strictly the books, but brilliant, classic movies.

I didn't read GWTW until I'd seen the movie many times - and I just ate up the far more intricate history of the book. The movie really only works until the intermission, but it's about the best first half ever filmed.

Catherine Fowl said...

I just can't stop myself from commenting anymore.

I've been reading your blog for awhile now, Alex. I found the link on Murderati (although I don't remember how I found Murderati itself...) and I started reading your articles about Sceenplay structures used in novels. I really apriciate your work here because every one of those aricles help a lot.

So back to the point... (I've read your articles in a really mismached way that's why I write here now.)

...but I can't stop myself noticing that (although it may not be a thriller or a mystery) The Memoir of a Geisha is always forgotten!

It is a wonderful book, but what is even more wonderful is the way they made a perfect film of it!
I mean the film is a great stand alone (without reading the novel), and also very faithful to the book.
And it has all the elemnts of the book that must be mentioned so the story would be viable and still manages to squize a more than 400 pages book into a 2 hour film.

Thanks for reading my nonsense, but I felt that (especially from the Guardian list!) The Memoirs of a Geisha shouldn't be left out.

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