But every adaptation invariably "warps" the original to some degree. The 1931 Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein
bears little or no resemblance to Mary Shelley's novel, but that doesn't mean it's not a classic in its own right or lacks "artistic integrity." Ditto the classic George Pal version of War of the Worlds
(which shifted the setting from Victorian England to 1950's California and changed Wells' iconic tripods into futuristic flying saucers). The Charles Laughton version of The Hunchback of the Notre Dame
completely changed the ending of the novel, but is still regarded as the best movie version to date. And so on and so on . . . .
Fidelity to the original source can be a virtue, but it's not the only consideration when it comes to adapting classic works, or even the most important one.
Heh. I'm suddenly envisioning the fannish response to Frankenstein
, if the internet had existed in 1931:
"WTF? Have those hacks at Universal even read the novel? A hunchbacked assistant, an abnormal brain, villagers with torches, a burning windmill? Where did that come from? And how come the creature can't even talk--and has stupid-looking bolts in his neck? None of that was in the book. Hell, they didn't even get the main character's name right? "Henry
Frankenstein?" Everyone knows it's supposed to be Victor.
"Where was the whole arctic finale? How come Elizabeth didn't die? Where was the whole subplot about Justine? And the murder of Victor's little brother? If they were going to make up a whole new plot, why even bother calling it Frankenstein
? The whole movie is a slap in the face to Mary Shelley and everyone who has actually read the book.
"But obviously Universal doesn't care about that. They just wanted to churn out some gruesome piece of schlock to cash in on the success of their so-called Dracula
with that weird Hungarian dude. Never mind that they're warping classic characters beyond recognition.