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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/9 - From Book to Film

Here's a fun list of writers who hated the movie version of one of their books. It's from an article by Stacy Conradt at, heavily edited by yours truly, my comments in parentheses: Mary Poppins (1964): M. L. Travers' edits were largely disregarded. She loathed the animated sequences and was perturbed that Poppins’ strictness was downplayed. The 65-year-old spent most of the movie crying and ultimately refused to let Disney touch the rest of the series. (I've never seen more than a few minutes of it. Haven't read the book)... The Shining (1980): Stephen King says: "... Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw..." I haven't read the book but I enjoyed the movie... Forrest Gump (1994): Winston Groom started the sequel with: "Don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story,” and "Whether they get it right or wrong, it don't matter." (I haven't read the book, but liked the movie, although I think it's over-rated.)... Sahara (2005): Clive Cussler believed the movie flopped because he wasn't given total script control, as agreed upon, and sued for $38 million. He lost and was ordered to pay $13.9 million for legal fees incurred by the production company. (Neither read nor seen.)... J.D. Salinger consented to have his short story Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut made into a movie retitled My Foolish Heart (1949). He was so mortified by the swooning love story he swore his works would never be butchered again. (Haven't read or seen. Now we know why Catcher in the Rye has never made it to the big screen.)... A Clockwork Orange (1971): Anthony Burgess said: “The book I am best known for, or only known for, is a novel I am prepared to repudiate: written a quarter of a century ago, a jeu d'esprit knocked off for money in three weeks, it became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence. The film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die..." (Read and seen. If it'd been made by anyone but Stanley Kubrick, it might have been largely forgotten by now.) American Psycho (2002): Brett Easton Ellis said: "I think the problem with American Psycho was that it was conceived as a novel, as a literary work with a very unreliable narrator at the center of it, and the medium of film demands answers. It demands answers. You can be as ambiguous as you want with a movie, but it doesn't matter — we’re still looking at it. It's still being answered for us visually. I don’t think American Psycho is particularly more interesting if you knew that he did it or think that it all happens in his head. I think the answer to that question makes the book infinitely less interesting.”(Neither read nor seen)... Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971): Roald Dahl felt the movie version of his book was “crummy,” found Gene Wilder to be “pretentious” and “bouncy,” and thought the director had “no talent or flair.” He vowed that producers would never get their hands on the sequel - at least not in his lifetime. (Neither read nor seen.)... One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975): Ken Kesey was originally slated to help with the production, but left after two weeks. Though he claimed he never viewed it and was especially upset the screenwriters didn't keep the viewpoint of Chief Bromden, his wife later said he was glad the movie was made. (Rare instance when I thought a film was better than the novel.)... I Am Legend (2007): Richard Matheson has been annoyed with the adaptations since 1964. “I was disappointed in The Last Man on Earth, even though they more or less followed my story. I think Vincent Price, whom I love in every one of his pictures that I wrote, was miscast. I also felt the direction was kind of poor. The Omega Man (1971) was so removed from my book that it didn't even bother me.” When the latest adaptation was announced, the author said: “I don't know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.” (Haven't read the book. Enjoyed the first version, despite its shoddiness. Ho-hum about the second. Haven't seen the third.)

My thanks to the kind folks who bought, donated and swapped books today.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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