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dulcinea3
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Re: Stephen King Movies

Stephanie,

I'm glad to hear it bugs someone else, too! Another one is 'The Haunting' (the old one with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom). The Haunting of Hill House is one of my very favorite novels, and overall I think the movie does a very good job of interpreting it. But what in the world was the reasoning behind changing the name of the doctor? What did that accomplish? And also using a Ouija board instead of planchette. It's like they're deliberately flounting the author's vision - maybe to express their own creative control?

The new version of 'The Haunting' is also a good example of how I feel about the Kubrick version of 'The Shining'. I actually think it is a decent horror movie (excellent special effects, in particular) - as long as I don't think of the novel it is based on. If I think of that, I get extremely frustrated at how much it departs from the original.

Yes, I use the name Dulcinea from Don Quijote because I was a Spanish major, think that is the best novel ever written, and that the name Dulcinea is very pretty! I am just getting acquainted with this new format. On BNU, I was either Denise or DeniseW if there was another Denise in the class. I think that you were the instructor in the Christmas Literary Classics class? I took it last year, and it was such an excellent class - I absolutely loved it!

Denise
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Stephanie
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Re: Stephen King Movies



dulcinea3 wrote:
Stephanie,

I'm glad to hear it bugs someone else, too! Another one is 'The Haunting' (the old one with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom). The Haunting of Hill House is one of my very favorite novels, and overall I think the movie does a very good job of interpreting it. But what in the world was the reasoning behind changing the name of the doctor? What did that accomplish? And also using a Ouija board instead of planchette. It's like they're deliberately flounting the author's vision - maybe to express their own creative control?

The new version of 'The Haunting' is also a good example of how I feel about the Kubrick version of 'The Shining'. I actually think it is a decent horror movie (excellent special effects, in particular) - as long as I don't think of the novel it is based on. If I think of that, I get extremely frustrated at how much it departs from the original.

Yes, I use the name Dulcinea from Don Quijote because I was a Spanish major, think that is the best novel ever written, and that the name Dulcinea is very pretty! I am just getting acquainted with this new format. On BNU, I was either Denise or DeniseW if there was another Denise in the class. I think that you were the instructor in the Christmas Literary Classics class? I took it last year, and it was such an excellent class - I absolutely loved it!

Denise


Denise,

I also loved the Don, and Sancho Panza especially. I believe Cervantes is credited with writing the first real novel.

And while I've never seen The Haunting, I'm thinking of all the movies that have spoiled great books. I don't understand why movie people can't come up with their own stories. :smileyhappy:

Oh yes, Christmas Literary Classics, for years. Wonderful times in those classes, and lots of good traditions, recipes and experiences shared.

Stephanie
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theghost
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Re: Stephen King Movies

Stephanie asked if we thought there were certain things that simply can not be portrayed on film and also the point has been made by several others regarding the changing of plot points, endings, etc. While I can think of several good illustrations of these points and the pros and cons of each, two spring to mind right off. Each example illustrates a different point.

The first is the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Peter Jackson created movies that will stand the test of time, introduce new generations to Tolkien's brilliant work and whet the appetite of many, many young readers. In order to make the movies something that the public would respond to, Jackson had to rearrange, cut, re-write and eliminate many things. He did so in a manner that was respectful of the original work and maintained its integrity, but he did it because it was necessary. If everything had been left "as is" the movies would have been thirteen hour long, lumbering epics that would have left most people asleep and believing that Tolkien had written a boring trilogy.

The second example that comes to mind is the screen adaptaion of Thomas Harris's "Hannibal". I read the book as soon as it hit shelves and was thrilled when I heard they would be doing a movie. When I read that Jody Foster would not be returning as Clarice Starling because she didn't like the ending my first thought was, "Hmmmm, that's odd. I wouldn't think she would shy away from that." Then I saw the movie. I was appalled by what they had done to it. I have never watched it again because I felt they had butchered it so badly. (Spoiler ahead...if you haven't read the novel, I apologize.)

In the movie, Lector cuts off his own hand in order to escape custody rather than harming Clarice. She lets him escape. Basically, they gave the movie an ending audiences would "like". In the novel, Clarice becomes Lector's lover. They disappear together, turning up in Italy as partners. It felt hollow and unlike the characters when I saw it on screen...a huge disappointment.

When films are turned into novels, things can be added to flesh it out. When novels are translated to the screen, some things are purposely changed, others are changed as a matter of necessity. King's work is no exception. I feel strongly that many of his works are better suited to the mini-series format, rather than the movie format. The mini-series format provides six to eight hours of time with which to tell the story visually instead of the usual 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Even then, things have to be left out or changed. A good example would be the rape scene between Flagg and The Bomb Man in the Stand. While it illustrates Flagg's character and provides background for the relationship, it is not intregal to the story line as far as visual progression...so it can be left out. In "Hearts in Atlantis" the choice to leave out many things was most likely so that people who had not read the book, or any of the Gunslinger books, would not be left wondering.

I know, as a writer, I would have a seriously hard time cutting anything down to fit a movie format. I think the key is to learn to see them as seperate entities...movies tell one story, novels and short stories tell another. They are two halves of a whole.
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Stephanie
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Re: Stephen King Movies

While I respect your opinion, I do not agree that novels and movies are "two halves of a whole" - novels are whole all on their own. As it must be, movies made from novels leave out one key element- imagination. I won't even speak of our nation's declining literacy rate. When one reads, it is at his own pace, and the images form in his mind, they are not produced and held out like so much sausage on a platter. The reader thinks - for an extended period of time, making predictions and inferences, using his mind. While I've enjoyed many movies made from books, I would just as soon let screen writers and movie producers come up with their OWN stories. I can't tell you how many children have seen the Harry Potter movies, but not read the books. Holes is a perfect example of this. The children say - "Oh, I've seen the movie, so I don't need to read the book. The movie is always better."

Stephanie
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dulcinea3
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Re: Stephen King Movies



Stephanie wrote:
While I respect your opinion, I do not agree that novels and movies are "two halves of a whole" - novels are whole all on their own. As it must be, movies made from novels leave out one key element- imagination. I won't even speak of our nation's declining literacy rate. When one reads, it is at his own pace, and the images form in his mind, they are not produced and held out like so much sausage on a platter. The reader thinks - for an extended period of time, making predictions and inferences, using his mind. While I've enjoyed many movies made from books, I would just as soon let screen writers and movie producers come up with their OWN stories. I can't tell you how many children have seen the Harry Potter movies, but not read the books. Holes is a perfect example of this. The children say - "Oh, I've seen the movie, so I don't need to read the book. The movie is always better."

Stephanie




It's a shame if people feel that they can stop reading because they can get literature from watching movies. Although I have to admit that, as I have said earlier, I have seen many more King movies than I have read his novels. But I am a voracious reader, and can't find the time to read everything!

I'm not sure I entirely agree that imagination is missing in a movie, although I think I may be looking at this from a different perspective than you are, and I understand your point. What we are seeing in a movie is still imagination - the imagination of the moviemakers (screenwriters, directors, etc.). In a way, it is like participating in a book club, where we get different visions from different readers. I think we are looking to see if the moviemakers' imagination is similar to ours, and if they interpret things the same way, or, if not, is their interpretation valid. We may accept or reject what we see, based on our own feeling about the book. But that is where we have both read the book and seen the movie. I think your point was more about people substituting seeing the movie for reading the book.

There are many instances where, after having read a book, I am eager to see movie adaptations of it. The Jane Austen novels are a case in point, and I have seen multiple movie versions of most of them. It can be fun to critique them - yes, Lizzie's character was as I imagined it in this movie, but she was too frivolous in this other one.

I will admit that there have not been as many instances where I see a movie and it makes me want to read the book. Although 'Carrie' was one, but it took me years to read it. I think I may have been scared, since I know that so many of the King movies are not faithful to the novels, and the movie 'Carrie' is so excellent that I was worried that I might find it disappointing after reading the book. But I was curious, as it was King's first novel, and I still like both! One time I was so happy that the movie made me read the book was 'Wuthering Heights'. I saw the Olivier/Oberon movie when I was in junior high and loved it so much that I ran out and bought the book the next day. I was absolutely thrilled to find that the movie was only about half of the book, and there was another whole generation of Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs to get to know!

So, I guess what I want to say is, that I heartily approve of movimakers using novels as their material!

Denise
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Stephanie
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Re: Stephen King Movies

Denise,

I guess I'm not really thinking of adults, but of children and teens, who are all about instant gratification and doing whatever is easier. I'm also "one of those people" who thinks that just because you can create the most horrifying graphic effects on screen, it's not necessary, and sometimes it shouldn't be done. And just because there are some seven year old children who use foul language, perhaps we shouldn't include them in movies that we rate PG (such as Zathura which was created from a Chris Van Allsburg picture book). As much as I love modern technology, I'd love to see our kids a little less plugged in.

This coming from a complete techno-junkie, as many of you know quite well. My husband calls me Gadget-Girl. :smileysurprised:

Stephanie
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theghost
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Re: Stephen King Movies

I don't know that I would refer to movies based on novels or other literary works as two halves of a whole, but I do believe that movies are meant to entertain and as such can not be judged by the same standards one judges a written work by.

Movies have to convey messages in a restricted time format with the added restriction of not being able to include internal dialog. Actors, screen-writers and directors must convey the things an author can spend several chapters on in a matter of moments.

You are not alone in the opinion that screen-writers should come up with their own ideas. Tolkien felt the same way. I personally am of two minds on the subject. While I love to see a solid original work produced for screen, I also love reading a book and imagining what it would look like on the big screen, filling my field of vision with images that have only lived in my mind to that point.

Our society has become "plugged in" and many children do not read, but that is not because of movies or televison, it is because their parents don't encourage it. In my home we have over 2500 books. I read, my husband reads, my daugter reads...we all read to the two year old. We foster a love of the written word. Children who have seen movies like "Holes" or "Harry Potter" but have not read the book have most likely never been given the chance. This is not a new thing, by any means. I remeber being in the 7th grade, 1982, and sitting in Reading class. Our teacher gave a poor mark to one students book report. When he questioned her on the grade she said, "It is obvious to me, Mr. Cloudy, that you did not actually read the book." He responded," That's not true Mrs. Renner, I read the whole movie." Busted. That was over twenty years ago.

The film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that was done by Franco Zeffirelli is commonly shown in English classes as a way of introducing Shakespear to teenagers. In Universities across the world you can take classes where film is used as a tool to begin a discussion on the books that inspired them, the differences and the social commentary they inspire.

There are certainly examples of badly done movie adaptaions, Clan of the Cave Bear and Queen of the Damned spring to mind immediatley, but there are also an abundance of films that embrace the heart of an authors works and bring it to life. When you read a book, it comes to life for you....when a good film is inspired by a literary work, it comes to life for a world full of people.
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theghost
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Re: Stephen King Movies

One more thing:

What about novelizations based on screenplays? One example being the novelization of Rose Red. The screenplay was written by Stephen King, the novelization was not. Are novelizations a good idea, or a bad one? Would you apply the same standards and judgements to them as you would apply to the film adaptaion of an existing literary work?
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reignbough1973
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Re: Stephen King Movies

As pleased as I have been with movies based on Stephen King novels (and I have been, I see every one), I still feel that there will never be anyone who can take the entirety of imagery, perceptions, and feelings that are present in a Stephen King novel and portray them as they were when King wrote them, to evoke the emotional and intellectual response in a moviegoer that his novels do to an avid reader of his works. Still, I cannot wait, everytime I hear of a new Stephen King movie or mini series in the works, to see the finished product. I am rarely disappointed!!!
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ZenUnderground
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Re: Stephen King Movies

The screenplay he wrote for TV, Storm of the Century, was good also. Does anybody know if a Bag of Bones movie is coming out anytime soon.
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scubadms
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Re: Stephen King Movies

I agree that while his books translate fairly well to the big screen they can never be done entirely. I also find that lots of times the actors who protray the characters are not at all the way I had pictured the characters in my mind. I generally find that I like my version better but I also generally watch all of the movies. I always try to read the book first so my ideas are not tainted by the hollywood version. I find though that once the movie has come out I can talk with more people about the story since many of my friends and family are not big fans but can be persuaded to watch a movie for a couple of hours.
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Bonnie824
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Shawshank Redemption



becke_davis wrote:
My husband is not a huge King fan but Shawshank Redemption is one of his alltime favorite movies, and he really liked the TV series of the Stand -- so did I.




My husband and son (who has never read a novel he wasn't forced to) also loved this movie. They watched it over and over. I wonder what about it is so appealing to men.
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arizonadesertwinds
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Re: Stephen King Movies

The Green Mile...

wow...

talk about a book and a movie that sticks with you, in a really good way.

As I remember the movie(I read the book a long time after seeing it), the movie was a pretty good copy of the book, which you don't usually see. But I don't remember the endings being the same. I could be wrong, haven't seen the movie in a long time, but just got finished with the book.

I'm new to King's stuff. I'm not a "horror" fan, but was blown away by the movie, and had to read the book for myself to see what his words were like. I really liked and understood his style of writing, in that his direct approach is so profoundly true that it's not over the top gore(at least in this book-again, the only one of his I've read). It's simple, and in that honest directness to the truth, it becomes gut wrenching-that's the stuff that stays with you I think- that direct link to the simple truth of pain, doubt, and other things that a person stuggles with in silence, in privete, where no one can see. He brings it to the light, where everyone can see, and it's not pretty, not at first anyway. But he crafts it in a way that shows a beauty to it- to that profound truth under the hidden layers his characters hide under.

I'm interested in what other readers think- if they could recommend another of his books like the Green Mile...
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Stephanie
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Re: Shawshank Redemption

I too could watch Shawshank Redemption and read the short, over and over again. Besides a phenomenal story, what terrific acting!
Stephanie
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skye_4_13
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Re: Stephen King Movies


Stephanie wrote:
While I respect your opinion, I do not agree that novels and movies are "two halves of a whole" - novels are whole all on their own. As it must be, movies made from novels leave out one key element- imagination. I won't even speak of our nation's declining literacy rate. When one reads, it is at his own pace, and the images form in his mind, they are not produced and held out like so much sausage on a platter. The reader thinks - for an extended period of time, making predictions and inferences, using his mind. While I've enjoyed many movies made from books, I would just as soon let screen writers and movie producers come up with their OWN stories. I can't tell you how many children have seen the Harry Potter movies, but not read the books. Holes is a perfect example of this. The children say - "Oh, I've seen the movie, so I don't need to read the book. The movie is always better."

Stephanie





*Applause*




dulcinea3
As to your remark


I actually think it is a decent horror movie (excellent special effects, in particular) - as long as I don't think of the novel it is based on.

I think that's one of the biggest problems with some books that get made into movies. Not a Stephen King topic, now, but a few movies I've seen of late. Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne. Read it, loved it. Saw there was a movie of it on TV a year or so back, and loved it...up until fifteen minutes or so in. After that, it was just too different from the book that I couldn't conceive of it having anything to do with the book! It might have been an okay movie on its own, but this was far more than a lost in translation issue. This was a "we decided to say it was based on the novel but the accurate phrase would be that it was inspired by the novel" situation. It, plain and simple, was not the same story. The only similarity it had was...a bunch of people escape from a prison camp in a balloon, and land on an unknown island. End of similarities. That "based on the novel by" label was what made me especially critical of it, and unwilling to forgive when they changed so much of it.
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arizonadesertwinds
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Re: Stephen King Movies

I agree about the movies sometimes being so different from the book it was made about. Like TimeLine- one of the best books ever, but the movie left out what I thought were important points, and the ending was entirely different than the book. On it's own, the movie is very good, but I can't think about the book when I watch it. A Circle of Friends was the same way. Changed the ending to appease the movie watching masses is what I think, and lost all credibility in my oppinion. I was real disappointed in that one...
God doesn't play dice with the universe, Albert Einstein
Break on through to the other side...,The Doors
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Deeger
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Re: Stephen King Movies

I think the worse movie ever made from a King book is Stanley Kubrick's disastrous interpretation of “The Shining.” First, the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance was an egregious error. The heart of this story depends, greatly, on watching Jack Torrance slip into insanity under the influence of the Overlook Hotel. Nicholson, while undoubtedly a great actor, seems insane even before they arrive at the hotel.

The other big problem with Kubrick’s movie is in the book Jack Torrance’s love for his son is what saves Danny in the end. For a brief moment, that love comes forward long enough for Danny and his mother to get away from the evil clutches of the Overlook. In Kubrick’s movie…Nicholson’s Torrance is never turned away from his murderous insanity. That created a completely different story. Kubrick’s movie may have been called “The Shining,” but it was as far away from the King story as “Dick and Jane” is from Kafka’s “The Metamorphous”

Mick Garris’ 1997 miniseries of “The Shining” was a far better movie, and Steven Weber’s Jack Torrance was perfect. I also loved the added ending where you discover that Danny’s friend “Tony” was actually “future” Danny trying to save him. That was an excellent added twist on the original story.

Of course, I think it should be noted that Kubrick wrote the screenplay for the 1980 disaster called “The Shining,” himself. That explains many of the extremely bad story decisions. King wrote the screenplay for the 1997 miniseries … that says it all!
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine de Saint Exupéry
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CharlieB3008
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Re: Stephen King Movies

Stephanie - I can't agree more! I have 3 teenage kids; one son who likes to read moderately, one daughter who likes to read somewhat and one daughter who doesn't like to read at all. It is interesting to hear them talk about books and movies made from those books. The two who read will generally admit that the movie does not do justice to the book, while the third child is content with the movie because she doesn't want to take the time to read the book. My son in particular gets very upset when the movie strays very far from the book. The discussion has mentioned "The Lord of the Rings", and the "Harry Potter" series, both of which my kids have enjoyed on screen.
It is difficult to capture on film all the detail about the characters that SK goes into in his novels. There have been a few success stories - "Shawshank Redemption", "The Green Mile" are a couple of examples in my opinion. However there have been more that have not been successful. I think that (in general) the writer should maintain more control over the screenplay to ensure that the end result is worthy of the original work. Otherwise the writer is just selling out for the money.

But I guess there is a market for every type of movie created so then again, what is wrong with taking advantage of all your options? That is what America is all about after all, right?
Charlie
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Stephanie
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Re: Stephen King Movies

Charlie,

Welcome! Glad my soapbox episode wasn't off-putting :smileyhappy:

It just crushes me to hear young people (my own son included!) say they prefer a movie version to its book. I have nothing against movies per se, until they destroy my favorite books in the making of them. Grisham's work is a good example. Did they ever NOT change an ending?

I will admit, To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck is one movie made from my All Time Favorite Book that I dearly love. But who could ever turn their nose up at Gregory?
Stephanie
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Deeger
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Re: Stephen King Movies

I know this is off topic, and I apologize, but CharlieB's mention of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies has prompted my response.

I am an avid reader and am nearly always disappointed by the movie version of books. However, Jackson's first movie in the trilogy is the exception. Please don't misunderstand, I love Tolkien, however, I believe Jackson's "Fellowship of the Ring" was actually a better story. Allow me to explain.

First, the movies did not utilize any of Tolkien's poetry. While he was a brilliant writer I think his poetry was tedious and ground the plot of the stories to a snail’s pace.

Second, in the book years drag on between the point where Frodo is given the ring and when he takes off on his momentous quest. In Jackson’s movie, he creates a real sense of urgency about destroying the ring. I think it improved on the story immensely.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine de Saint Exupéry
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