by Ellen_Scordato 04:48 PM
Having just seen the 2012 film version of Victor Hugo's 1853 classic Les Miserables with Hugh
Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway, I realized I need to read the book! And to read and then see Anna Karenina as well.
There's nothing like a sweeping 19th-century epic to escape from mid-winter doldrums. Recent years have seen some amazing book-to-movie productions--and some not so great ones: To round out the top five, here are three more of the big book-to-films of 2012. And a bonus "five": did you know the Hugh Jackman version is at least the fifth movie version of Hugo's book?
Modern literary giant Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis got the star treatment with Richard Pattinson as the protagonist and highbrow horror master David Cronenberg directing, but audiences were lukewarm, at best. The hotly awaited Cloud Atlas from postmodern fiction darling David Mitchell could have been a classic, with Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, and Halle Berry, but once again, the book surpassed the movie in popular appeal. J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Hobbit followed Peter Jackson's fabulous Lord of the Rings Trilogy of movies, but never reached their heights.
Frankly, the classic book-to-movie that I can't wait for is The Great Gatsby from Oscar winner Baz Luhrman, with Leonardo DiCaprio. Originally slated for a late 2012 release, it won't hit screens until 2013--which leaves plenty of time to revisit the original book.
And finally, five more screen versions of Hugo's epic:
Les Miserables (1998) with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Geoffrey Rush as Javert, Uma Thurman as Fantine, and Claire Danes as Cosette
Les Miserables (1979, TV movie) with Richard Jordan as Jean Valjean and Anthony Perkins as Javert
Les Miserables (double set, 1935 and 1952) The 1935 version has Fredric March as Valjean and Charles Laughton as Javert; the 1952 production has Michael Rennie and Robert Newton in those respective roles.Les Misérables (1958) This four-hour French production is widely acclaimed by purists for including some scenes from the novel not frequently filmed. It features Jean Gabin as Valjean, Bernard Blier as Javert, and Daniéle Delorme as Fantine.
Ah, Hugo is certainly a cinematic go-to source for directors and moviegoers. But there are so many.... What titles are on your list of top screen adaptations?