Decent movie versions of classic novels

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

  1. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    That's always been the favorite I've seen (perhaps I've seen 4 or 5 versions, excluding the new Johnny Depp, which I took a pass on). I can't speak to Faithfulness, since I've never read the book, but, it's the most entertaining one to me.
     
  2. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Was that the ABC (or whatever) mini series that ran in the 80s? I do remember liking that one but haven't seen it in years
     
  3. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    I have to respectfully disagree with you about this one here. I recently watched Murder by Decree for the 1st time. In the 1st place, it's boring as hell. In the 2nd place, it has fuck all to do with the characters that Arthur Conan Doyle created. It's not really a Sherlock Holmes story. It's just a movie that used Holmes as a vehicle to examine recent historical theories about Jack the Ripper. And then there's Donald Sutherland playing a psychic for some reason. For Holmes to pay any legitimate attention to a psychic at all is completely antithetical to the character. Honestly, as far as authentic Holmes stories go, you'd even be better off with Young Sherlock Holmes.

    I don't really think The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a comedy. It's kinda "funny" when Holmes tries to get out of being propositioned by a Russian ballerina by claiming that he & Watson are gay. But other than that, it's a pretty straight story (albeit absent the usual Holmes forensics) about international espionage & the Loch Ness Monster.

    Personally, I would best recommend the BBC series Sherlock. Despite its contemporary setting, it absolutely nails the characters and some of the dialogue is lifted straight from the original stories.
     
  4. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    It's Sherlock Holmes solving the Ripper case; an extremely common scenario in post-Doyle novels. And I think it's a pretty intelligent examination of what has become a fairly common conspiracy theory.

    It's got a strong Holmes, and James Mason's Watson I thought was one of the better versions of the character (certainly of those who use the chubby Watson as their basis).
    Sutherland's character is in it because he was a real person who was involved with the Ripper case.

    And Holmes in the novels never dismissed the supernatural outright; he was open to the idea in The Hound of the Baskervilles, for instance, but insisted on examining all other avenues, and said that if it was true, there wasn't anything he could do about it. And particularly since Doyle himself later became a spiritualist, I don't think him examining a psychic who claims to have information is some great problem.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    It was a movie on NBC in 1999. It had Tina Majorino as Alice, Whoopi as the Cheshire Cat, Miranda Richardson as the Queen of Harts and Martin Short as the Mad Hatter.
    The Trailer
     
  6. MLJames

    MLJames Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A better take on the "Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper" idea is A Study In Terror, a British film from 1965 with John Neville as Holmes. It's more of a classic mystery than Murder By Decree, and it lacks all that drivel about the Masons and Queen Victoria's grandson. I don't know if it's been released on DVD or BR, though, and it's been a long time since I saw it.

    Getting back to the faithful adaptations theme, it's not exactly a classic, but I'd recommend checking out the BBC version of The Day Of The Triffids. It's much closer to Wyndham's novel than the early 60s theatrical version with Howard Keel. I first caught that on A&E in the early 80s (back before the channel forgot that A&E stood for Arts & Entertainment), and I waited 20 years before BBC brought it and the Louis Jourdan Count Dracula out on home video.
     
  7. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    The Hammer version did have the problem, IIRC, of the original director dropping dead half way through, and thoroughly buggering up the production...
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    True and didn't Peter Cushing drop out at the last minute as well? After his wife died?

    (For the uninitiated, we're talking about BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB, which was later remade as THE AWAKENING.)

    Although, now that I think of it, sure, there's a reincarnation angle in Jewel of Seven Stars, but it's not the long-lost-love-reborn angle that the later mummy movies (and Dracula adaptations) have milked.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  9. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    That was round about the same time, so probably

    I remember it as being the same angle, but I'll admit to not having read it for a couple of decades. I do have a 1970s copy in the spare room, though, so I might dig it out if I can find it.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    As I recall, the archaeologist's daughter turns out to have been possessed by the spirit of the evil Egyptian queen at birth, so it's more of a possession story than a reincarnated lovers story. (The daughter has a suitor in the manner of the Jonathan Harker, but that's about it. There's no timeless love story.)

    And I believe Andrew Keir replaced Cushing at the last minute.

    Just to bring things back OT, Jewel of Seven Stars is Bram Stoker's second-most famous book, after Dracula, and probably the only one of his other novels that is still readable these days.

    Trust me, the movie version of Lair of the White Worm is much better than the original novel . . . .
     
  11. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Mm mm... Amanda Donohoe naked....

    To be fair, Stoker was dying at the time, having had at least a couple of strokes by 1911...
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Oh, yeah, there are definitely extenuating circumstances, but Jewel is still a fun read, but I couldn't really recommend Worm to anyone but Stoker completists. (The less said about The Lady of the Shroud, the better!)
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We all had a couple of strokes to Amanda Donohue naked.
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just watched the FFC Dracula again today after picking up the Collectors Edition for $7.50 at Target.

    As for the current discussion, I didn't know Stoker wrote any books other than Dracula.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Stoker was a fairly prolific author, although he would probably be forgotten if not for Dracula. He also wrote a number of good, spooky short stories, notably "The Judge's House" and "The Squaw" and "Dracula's Guest."

    Funny: Stoker's original obituary in the London Times made only brief reference to Dracula and predicted that he would be best remembered for his two-volume memoir regarding the noted Victorian actor, Henry Irving. (Stoker was only a part-time writer. His real career, for most of his life, was running the Lyceum Theater in London.)

    Nowadays, of course, nobody remembers his magnum opus: Life of Irving.
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I saw that he ran the Lyceum while I was skimming his page on wikipedia. Fun Little Easter Egg: In the scene where Mina and Dracula first meet on the streets of London in FFC's Dracula, there is an ad for the Lyceum in the background. I'm assuming this was done on purpose as a reference Stoker's other career.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The best version of Frankenstein on screen is either Birde of Frankenstein or Young Frankenstein (which are a lot closer in tone than you might think).

    The filmed version with the most fidelity to the novel would probably be the 2004 miniseries version starring Alec Newman. It's not bad.
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just added another book to my list the chinese epic, Journey to the West. I found an abridged version of Anthony C. Yu's translation available for the Nook. It appears to have been abridged by Yu himself, so hopefully it should still be pretty good. If I like the abridged version, I might try to track down the full four volume version.
     
  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    There's never been a faithful adaptation of Tarzan. I've mixed feelings about the Disney version. The knuckle walking Tarzan turns me off almost as much as monosyballic Tarzan does

    The first book has a great final line:

    He says this to the man who he knows has taken his inheritance ( the Greystoke name ) and the woman he loves. ( Jane of course)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  20. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apocalypse Now is fantastic, of course.

    (The Heart of Darkness adaptation with Tim Roth and John Malkovich is also pretty good.)