Susan Hill

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Book vs Film controversy

Published 30/09/2012 by julierkendrick

Ah a truer word was never said.  Well actually loads of truer words have been said but these particular true words are what this blog is about.

Ever since books have been made into movies people have been saying, including myself  “Ah but the book was so much better.”  Book purists will probably go to a movie, having read the book, expecting it to be substandard in comparison. There are many examples I can give where I truly believe the film adaption (and there’s a word I will be coming back to later) has not done the original book justice.

The Woman in Black for one. Susan Hill has written a fantastically dark, scary and atmospheric book and I was actually looking forward to seeing the movie. The film industry does dark and atmospheric pretty well, what could go wrong?

Daniel Radcliffe for a start. Now I have nothing against Mr Radcliffe; he is a pretty good actor but for the time being he is Harry Potter and will be until he gets some lines on his face and stops looking like a 12 year old wizard. The role of Arthur Kipps should have been played by a slightly older character and I kept expecting Kipps to yell “Avada Kedavra” at the ghostly woman.

Radcliffe aside, the film failed to truly scare me, unlike the book which had me leaving the light on by my bed all night (and I’m 42). Now I find this  strange as the film industry has all the props in the world to scare the bejesus out of me but only managed a mild hiccup of a jump.

However, my main problem with this, and many other films that fall into this category  is that they changed the ending. Why oh why oh why? When you know that thousands of movie goers will have read the book why change the ending? I’m willing to bet that 100% of those viewers will be disappointed. The ending is usually the reason they go to see the film in the first place.  If they had felt let down by the finale in the book then the film would not inspire excitement in the first place.

But hey, I didn’t set out to slate the Woman in Black in this blog, as I stated before, many films fall into this category this was just the first that came to mind. But my recommendation here would be, read Susan Hill’s books as she is a fantastic writer and you will never be disappointed.

So back then, to that little word I mentioned above, adaption. I think that this is where the movie makers think that they have us fooled.  As long as they use the words “adapted from the book by……” or “based on the book by…….” we have no cause for complaint because they never said we were getting the real thing anyway. So there! It looks like we will be disappointed movie watchers for a while yet then.

But ah ha!! There is another phenomenon that swings in and saves the day. The film into book version. Now this is more like it. I can go to watch a movie without any preconceptions and then if I like it I can read the book, which of course will be fabulous because it will have been written from the film. Happy bunnies all round. One example I can give of this is The Cabin in the Woods. I have yet to see this film but of my friends who have they all raved about it and then went out and bought the book; so far no one is disappointed.

I must add at the bottom here that of course there are exceptions. The Green Mile for one. This is a truly magnificent film with amazing actors playing their parts stupendously well. I have seen this film many times and cry every time. I have also read the book and it remains one of my favourites to this day.

So you see it can be done, just not often enough for my liking.

What do you think? Film or book or both?

See you next time

Julie 🙂