Decent movie versions of classic novels

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JD, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    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
     
  2. C_Miller

    C_Miller Captain Captain

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    Are you looking for us to tell you what adaptions are best or something like that?
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. C_Miller

    C_Miller Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  5. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The closest page to screen adaptation I have ever seen was 1984.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. Caliburn24

    Caliburn24 Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  9. Worf2DS9

    Worf2DS9 Writer Rear Admiral

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    I really like the recent adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pierce.
     
  10. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ooh, I might have to check that out; thanks. :)


    It is, but the narrating character doesn't realize that until the finale.
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    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 . . ..
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    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.)
     
  13. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  14. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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".

    [​IMG]
     
  15. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Disney version; immensely underrated.
    The 1970s version with, among others, Michael York, is probably the best version at the moment.
    Mid-90s version with Liam Neeson as Valjean.
    Polanski's version was good, for a straight take; the musical is quite fun, too.
    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.
    50s Disney version.
    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.
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I've seen and enjoyed the Disney 20,000 Leagues and Guy Pearce CoMC and I will probably watch them again either before or after the books.
    How close is the Francis Ford Coppola/Gary Oldman Dracula (one of my favorite movies) to the book? I read the play script in High School and from what I remember it was pretty close to that. We were actually going to do that as our play that year, but then the school higher ups had a fit and refused to let us do it. Instead we did a Children's Storybook theater type thing :rolleyes:. Talk about going from one extreme to the other. I'm pretty sure we would have probably gotten alot bigger audiance with Dracula, but oh well. As you can tell this still pisses me off, because our Dracula would have been pretty cool (for a HS play, of course).
     
  17. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But it can be, and if filmakers are not going to use the story they probably should be using the title. Some changes are understandable for the sake of time, but some changes go too far and some make no sense at all in making like the elves at Helms Deep in the Two Towers for example.

    Which does nothing to show that it is better that way than sticking to the original ending.
     
  18. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've never seen a movie version of Tarzan that came close to the atmosphere and tone of the book, but the early 1930s movie, particularly Tarzan, The Ape Man and Tarzan and his Mate are great movies in their own rights.

    I've no idea how authentic a translation it is, since I never read the book, but the 1998 Man in the Iron Mask, with Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons, Gerard Depardieu, John Malcovich and Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favorite movies.
     
  19. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I love Disney's Tarzan. It was what introduced me to Phil Collins.
    Les Mes
    I've actually had this in my Netflix Que since before I started my classics read. I'm a huge fan of Liam Neeson, Claire Danes, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman, so as soon as I saw them in it I added it.
    Oliver Twis
    Ugh, Polanski. After learning what he did, I try not to watch his movies, but I made an exception for Rosemary's Baby, so I guess I might make one for this too.
    Sherlock Holmes
    Saw it and loved it.
    Oooo Gen. Chang!
    I'm a big fan of most of the cast of that one, so it's actually been on my Netflix Instant Que pretty much since I started it. I just haven't gotten around to watching it yet.
     
  20. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I thought DAGON wasn't a bad stab at Lovecraftian horror.
     

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