Sunday, December 12, 2010

Classics into Movies

It's sort of an icky day here in North Western Pennsylvania. I'm not feeling particularly good and so I'm sitting in a dark living room watching The Diary of Anne Frank on Netflix. This version is the 2009 by the BBC. I've never read the book, though I've wanted to very much to do so.

The fact that I'm watching the movie, but haven't read the book, makes me feel like a hypocrite. I am a firm believer that the world needs to quit turning ever bestseller book into a movie. I have refused to watch any of the Twilight movies, and have only watched Harry Potter under duress. I did watch Marley and Me, but only because I knew I had no interest in the book.

In highschool, any book that we read, if there was a movie, we watched it as well. It was as if the teachers, or the curriculum were giving those who had trouble reading, a way out. And while I have complete sympathy for those who struggle with the written word, I think that the whole idea of giving them a second way to learn the information instead of helping them to read is a bit...despicable and lazy.

I know that I have posted a few times about wanting to read more of the classics in the last year and in the upcoming one, but seeing myself use the movies of the great works to get the story pushes my drive to read them even more. I have listed The Jungle by Uptain Sinclair in my 2011 TBR challenge, and hope to read at least one more classic. I need to reread To Kill a Mockingbird because I didn't like it in highschool but think that I would like it much more now.

I have, on the other hand, seen many a movie that was a piece of classic literature. Such as The Lord of the Flies, which I've read. The Great Gatsby, which I've also read. Of Mice and Men, which is one of my favorite books, but I couldn't stand the movie. Much Ado About Nothing, which I should have read in highschool but was sick when we did. The Diary of Anne Frank, which I believe I tried to read once and couldn't get into when I was younger.

I guess that this rambling post is all meant to pose a question to you my readers. What is your favorite classic? What is your favorite movie based on a classic? What would you recommend to me? What classic would you recommend to a younger person, who didn't like reading all that much?


  1. I don't mind watching a movie over reading the book. I just don't have the time to read everything that interests me. I have two favorite movies: Sense and Sensibility staring Emma Thompson. I could not read the book because of the writing style. My other fav is The Return of the King. The cinematography was mind blowing! The movie imagined Middle Earth much better than I could.

  2. Well, the older the book, the more difficult the language. (That's what makes them classic)
    But, go for Hemingway's 'Old Man and the Sea"
    Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath'
    Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights'
    Melville's 'Moby-Dick'
    All have outstanding films available.

  3. My favorite classic "Silas Mariner" was turned into a modernized version movie by Steve Martin and is called "A Simple Twist of Fate". This is not the normal comedy number you would expect from Steve and includes several other well know actors. Despite the modernization of the movie, it is a well told, well acted movie worth seeing!

  4. I was going to suggest "Grapes of Wrath" also. It's an older movie and you seem to be getting into those lately. (Moms have inside info) The movie "In Cold Blood" (1967, Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe), from Truman Capote's book is an amazing, and frightening film. I think you would like it.

  5. The BBC 5-hr. installment of Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth is my favorite classic-to-movie. The lines from the novel become rote by watching this film.

    That is probably the only classic adaptation to film I can suggest, as I'm a snob and do not appreciate most of the literature I teach and read being bastardized on film. Just my little opinion:)

    And, I RARELY as a high school English teacher show the film version of a classic taught to the students. Instead, I have them work on their own filming of adapted parts of the book...I'd rather see what they gained from the literature projected as a movie than what some bigwig Hollywood person deems the world needs to spend money on to make them rich and skew our vision of the written word.


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