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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old March 8 2011, 08:42 PM   #1
JD
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Decent movie versions of classic novels

Recently I've started reading some of the classics, and I'm hoping to watch some of the movie versions after I read the books. Ok, I guess they're not all sci-fi and fantasy but the majority of them are.
I've already watched the Bela Lugosi and Gary Oldman Draculas so I'm happy with those.
The ones I'm most interested in are:
THe Invisible Man
HP Lovecraft's stories
Tarzan
Treasure Island
Guliver's Travels
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
Jungle Books
Huck FInn
Peter Pann
Three Musketeers
Illiad/Odyssey
Arabian Nights (whole thing or individual stories)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (I've seen and loved the James Nesibitt/Michele Ryan Jekyll mini, but that's a sequel not an adaptation)
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Les Meserables
Count of Monte Cristo
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Ivanhoe
Crime & Punishment
Man in the Iron Mask
Oliver Twist
Cyrano De Bergerac
Red Badge of Courage
Don Quixote
Robinson Crusoe
Pinocchio
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Tom Sawyer
Sherlock Holmes
King Solomon's Mine
Phantom of the Opera
Beowulf
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Time Machine
Frankenstein
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Old March 8 2011, 09:30 PM   #2
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Are you looking for us to tell you what adaptions are best or something like that?
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Old March 8 2011, 09:39 PM   #3
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Don't know if any movies have ever been true to the original Frankestein, but, I own Scott Brick's Audiobook reading of the original Frankenstein (Not the re-issue from the 1930s, it's different), and it is stellar, I've never seen a Frankenstein movie that comes anywhere close to being faithful to the original book.
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Old March 8 2011, 09:42 PM   #4
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Sindatur wrote: View Post
Don't know if any movies have ever been true to the original Frankestein, but, I own Scott Brick's Audiobook reading of the original Frankenstein (Not the re-issue from the 1930s, it's different), and it is stellar, I've never seen a Frankenstein movie that comes anywhere close to being faithful to the original book.
The one from the 90s called Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was a lot closer than the 1931 version, but still not perfect. The 1931 version is entirely different. They may have been able to change the names and pass it off as a completely original story.
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Old March 8 2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

The closest page to screen adaptation I have ever seen was 1984.
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Old March 8 2011, 09:50 PM   #6
Greg Cox
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

It's probably worth noting that the most faithful movie adaptation is not always the best one. The Charles Laughton version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME completely changes the ending, but works as a classic movie in its own right. Which is often the case.

Speaking of DRACULA, though, the 1970's British version starring Louis Jourdan as the Count is probably the most faithful adaption of the novel I've ever seen--aside from the casting of Jourdan, who plays Dracula as suavely sinister in the manner of Lugosi.

As for JEKYLL & HYDE, pretty much every movie version varies significantly from the novel because (unlike the novel, where it's a surprise ending) they don't try to hide the fact that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person.
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Old March 9 2011, 03:43 AM   #7
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Yeah, I was looking for recommendations.

I didn't know the whole Jekyll is Hyde thing was a surprise ending. I thought the whole book was him specifically dealing with the fact that his personality was split.
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Old March 9 2011, 03:49 AM   #8
Caliburn24
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

The Disney versions of Treasure Island and 20,000 Leagues hold a special place in my heart. They aren't completely accurate to the books, but they have heart.
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Old March 9 2011, 03:56 AM   #9
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

I really like the recent adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pierce.
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Old March 9 2011, 04:31 AM   #10
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Speaking of DRACULA, though, the 1970's British version starring Louis Jourdan as the Count is probably the most faithful adaption of the novel I've ever seen--aside from the casting of Jourdan, who plays Dracula as suavely sinister in the manner of Lugosi.
Ooh, I might have to check that out; thanks.


JD wrote: View Post
I didn't know the whole Jekyll is Hyde thing was a surprise ending. I thought the whole book was him specifically dealing with the fact that his personality was split.
It is, but the narrating character doesn't realize that until the finale.
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Old March 9 2011, 04:43 AM   #11
Greg Cox
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

JD wrote: View Post
Yeah, I was looking for recommendations.

I didn't know the whole Jekyll is Hyde thing was a surprise ending. I thought the whole book was him specifically dealing with the fact that his personality was split.
Yeah, the novel is structured as a mystery. The surprise ending is that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person.

All of the movie versions realized (correctly) that the audience already knows this going in, so they just treat it like a werewolf story, with Jekyll transforming onstage early on.

The movies also came up with the idea (which I believe originated with the 1922 John Barrymore film) of illustrating the Jekyll/Hyde split via the two women in his life: his virginal upper-class fiancee and a fallen woman in the bad part of town. This has been pretty much a standard aspect of the movie versions that is nowhere in the novel . . ..
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Old March 9 2011, 04:50 AM   #12
Greg Cox
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

Gaith wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Speaking of DRACULA, though, the 1970's British version starring Louis Jourdan as the Count is probably the most faithful adaption of the novel I've ever seen--aside from the casting of Jourdan, who plays Dracula as suavely sinister in the manner of Lugosi.
Ooh, I might have to check that out; thanks.


.

FYI: The actual title is "Count Dracula." It was a three-part BBC production that first aired back in 1977. I haven't seen it in years, but I remember it being very faithful to the novel. (Frank Finlay plays Van Helsing, btw.)
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Old March 9 2011, 04:51 AM   #13
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

I would strongly recommend you stay far away from any direct Lovecraft adaptations except Reanimator, which is just fun (and not really a direct adaptation). Everything else is kicked-in-the-dick awful.

Other than that, I actually enjoyed the Robert Downey Sherlock Holmes movie and the old Disney 20,000 Leagues does have some heart to it. Doesn't hold up well, but it's enjoyable enough.
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Old March 9 2011, 04:56 AM   #14
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

So awful, that I needed to convey how awful with this picture of Dean Stockwell making silly faces whilst chanting to Yog-Sothoth in the Academy Award winning "The Dunwich Horror".

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Old March 9 2011, 05:00 AM   #15
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Re: Decent movie versions of classic novels

JD wrote: View Post
Tarzan
Disney version; immensely underrated.
Three Musketeers
The 1970s version with, among others, Michael York, is probably the best version at the moment.
Les Meserables
Mid-90s version with Liam Neeson as Valjean.
Oliver Twist
Polanski's version was good, for a straight take; the musical is quite fun, too.
Sherlock Holmes
The recent Robert Downey Jr. version is a very fun action-oriented take.

For more classical ones, apart from the BBC stuff that everyone recommends, there's a very good 1979 film called Murder By Decree starring Christopher Plummer as Holmes.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
50s Disney version.
Frankenstein
The only film version that really comes close to the novel (that I've seen) is Kenneth Branagh's early 90s take; it's flawed, but worth seeing.
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