Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Meme (at least for me): Top Ten Tuesday

Well, once I saw this meme (TOP TEN TUESDAY) originated by Kimberly at The Broke and the Bookish I felt compelled to join in and join up. Tuesdays is going to be a busy day around here from now on. Thanks to Bev at My Reader's Block for cluing me in.

You can check out the specific rules by linking over to Kimberly's blog. But here's the ball park: This is a weekly meme. Kimberly posts her Ten Top something or other every Tuesday and we follow through with our own lists. And you KNOW how I feel about lists. This is going to be fun!

Okay, this week is Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations: TOP TEN TUESDAY begins on Yvette's blog. Woo-Hoo!


I have a feeling it would be pretty hard to mess up an adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's classic book. I've seen two versions I like: The Laurence Olivier/Joan Fontaine film by Hitchcock and the Charles Dance, Emilia Fox version for Masterpiece Theater. Of course this latest version doesn't have Judith Anderson as the really, really creepy housekeeper AND it was done for television.


Though I enjoyed the book by Dashiell Hammett, the father of the modern detective story, I loved the movie more. William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, the perpetually sloshed, fun-loving, detecting couple, reached iconic status in this film directed by W.S. Van Dyke.


Both about equal in my estimation. Great thumping good read by Margaret Mitchell turned into a great thumping good movie with a simply gorgeous music score. Clark Gable was born to play Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh made Scarlett indelibly her own. Three directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor and Sam Wood brought this thing to gigantic life. Worth a good look even now.


A lot of people don't like the Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles version of this classic by Charlotte Bronte. I'm not one of them. I like this film because of the creepy mood it establishes and holds almost from the very beginning. I like the way Welles tackled Mr. Rochester, the way his eyes were lit with pin-point lights (it's the thing I remember most about this version.) to accent his mysterious brooding quality. I like Joan Fontaine's wistful expression throughout most of the film. Also, be sure and watch for the very, very young Elizabeth Taylor as Jane's childhood friend at the orphanage. She is unbilled but quite delicately, spectacularly beautiful even then.

I also loved the Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clark version, though that was a multi-episode TV series.


Nothing can match the Gene Barry 1953 version of the H.G. Wells novel. Set in northern California, not Great Britain as in the original story. It's still the only watchable version as far as I'm concerned. I first saw it in theater when it first came out and I've seen it many times since. It holds up well. Still a terrific and terrifying movie - offset a bit by the screaming-meemy female lead. But these were the 1950's. Women did a lot of screeching in movies, then.


Loved the book by Sinclair Lewis, loved the film with Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor. Thank goodness for Turner Classic Films. It's where I first saw this film which showcases the disintegration of a long-term marriage. I try to watch it at least once a year. Just an absolutely wonderfully done film. William Wyler directed.


I loved the book by Michael Crichton. I think the Steven Spielberg film does the story justice. Not great literature but then no one ever said it was supposed to be. As a movie, it is an awe-inspiring enterprise. There are a few times I've been in a theater and felt physically moved. This was one of them: I sat there, wide-eyed, mouth open, eyebrows up into my forehead. I love when, as an adult, I have one of those rare 'gee whiz' moments. This film and STAR WARS were two. Also E.T. now that I think on it.


Loved the book by James Fenimore Cooper, yes I did. Not fashionable to say that now, but as I often say: what the heck. The film is much richer and has more romantic entanglements than the book which has very little. But I loved both equally. Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye is superb and quite beautiful to look at. As are Russell Means and especially the young Wes Studi as the tragic Uncas. A violent film full of warfare, but also a dual love story that will leave you breathless.


Such a brilliant, brilliant adaptation by John Schlesinger of the Stella Gibbons (equally brilliant) book. British humor - you either love it or hate it. I love it. Especially when done like this in such a dry, witty, lunatic but literate manner that doesn't stop you laughing up your sleeve until it hurts. Kate Beckinsale is perfection as Robert Poste's child. Rufus Sewell is a gorgeous ham. Ian McKellen is wonderful. Eileen Atkins is superb as the gloom and doom chatelaine of Cold Comfort Farm. I love this film!


Adapted from Annie Proulx's tragic short story, director Ang Lee and his writers enlarged the story to suit the film format. Except for a few tweaks here and there, it is perfection. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal embody the heartbreak of two young men whose great tragedy it is to fall deeply in love with one another. My favorite film of all time, my favorite book to film adaptation.
I thought I'd make mention of two other books which were turned into brilliant film adaptations . They didn't make my meme list because these adaptations were done for television as multi-episode series.


The Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews version for Granada and BBC television is still, startlingly good. To my mind, the best adaptation of a book to TV series ever done. In truth the best television series ever done. The theme music alone can sometimes bring me to tears, still. A perfect cast brings to life Evelyn Waugh's brilliant book. (In truth, makes more of the book.)


The Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle version of Jane Austen's classic. My pick for second best book to TV series adaptation. Another brilliant cast brings to life my favorite book of all time.


  1. Good choices, Yvette. Can't make my own top ten list, without thinking it over, but I'd keep The ThinMan, Gone with the wind, Jurassic Park,Rebecca, and I'd continue (not in order, just as they come to mind) with The suspicion (always Hitch from Francis Iles' Before the fact), The Time Machine (Rod Taylor's version), Gigi, To kill a Mockinbird,Appaloosa and, of course, Mr FIrth's Pride and Prejudice. Farwell my lovely, the Dick Powell's version, and The Big Sleep too.
    And Little Women? Yes , also Little Women. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, too.
    O my God, there are too many...

  2. Oh gosh, VIV, you named some I would have chosen had I remembered them. That's the problem with these lists, you pick out some and then you remember the others. Jeez.

    I'd forgotten THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Loved the book and the films with Leslie Howard. But also loved the Anthony Andrews and Richard Grant versions.

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE I included as an added title with explanation because it really isn't a film/film. If you know what I mean.

    I liked THE LADY IN THE LAKE with Robert Montgomery and Audrey Totter for my Chandler/Phillip Marlowe fix.

    Way TOO MANY, I know! :)

  3. Oof, "The Last of the Mohicans." I watched the movie with my dad, who neglected to tell me about the ending. I was SO not happy. :p

    I loved the book version of Rebecca more than the movie, but anything with Olivier in it is golden in my book. I love your list, nice addition of Pride and Prejudice there at the end. A continual favorite of mine.

  4. Yvette: I'm so glad you gave in to your need for lists and decided to join in! Great list! I've never read or seen Last of the Mohicans, althoug I read The Deer Slayer when I was young and loved it.

  5. couchpotatocritic: Hi, thanks for dropping by and commenting. Olivier is also in BRIDESHEAD REVISITED. One of his last roles, I think. As usual, he was brilliant.

    Yeah, the ending of LAST OF THE MOHICANS just grabs your heart and dashes it on the rocks. But it's a great romantic film.

    I've seen several versions of it and must say, I liked most of them.

  6. Bev: Yeah, I saw this meme and thought well, you know: LISTS!!! Ha!

    Oh Bev, you HAVE to see LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Absolutely! It is just such a rich and gorgeously romantic film. But heartwrenching. You have been warned. :)

  7. Hmm I haven't seen most of the movies on your list. I'll need to get some movie watching

  8. Hi Red, thanks for dropping by. Not enough time in the day to see everything - huh? I'm always amazed by how many films and books I've yet to read or see. It's never-ending. :)

  9. I love your list, Yvette! I'd also have to add "The Green Mile" and "The Swawshank Redemption," both movie adaptations of short stories by Stepehen King, on my list :)
    I always thought King's "The Shining" was one of the scariest books I ever read and the movie adaptation was pretty good ..Jack Nicholson was perfect as Jack Torrance.

  10. I really should read Brideshead Revisited. I too loved the Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews version, but I have never read the book.

  11. Omigo! Now I have to scroll and find my first movie list where I got about 16 or 18 and a friend must have rattled off 30.
    So I guess I'll need to do this before answering, as I put most of my top movies on that list.

  12. Pat: I've never read much Stephen King. There - I admit it. I'm not a fan of horror though I did read King's IT. (My daughter gave me the book once many years ago.)

    I did enjoy the films: GREEN MILE and SHAWSHANK but never read the actual stories.

  13. Bibliophile: Hi, yes, you should read BRIDESHEAD - I agree. :) A great book that made for an even greater TV series.

    Sebastian Flyte. (Anthony Andrews was born to play that part.) Forgot to add his name to my favorite character names list. I may have to yet ANOTHER list. Yegads.

  14. kathy: relax - it's not homework. Ha! But I know how you are about lists - I feel the same way! We'll talk about the ones we've forgotten later. :)

    I was thinking of making ANOTHER list for the ones I'd meant to add as well. How's that sound?
    Not much you can do with the number 10.

  15. I am with you on War of the Worlds, The Last of the Mohicans, Brideshead Revisited, and especially Jurassic Park. I will never forget the sight of that first prehistoric creature as it appeared on the screen. I think one other movie must be added, and that is Lord of the Rings. I was almost dreading what they may have done to this movie. But was more than just pleasantly surprised and the screen play was brilliant to, and did not take anything away from Tolkien
    PS I would have added COLD MOUNTAIN, to that list as well. But that list could be become.... endless.... :-)

  16. David: Yes, exactly, re: JURASSIC PARK, I was struck all of a heap. (As I like to say.) ;)

    Watching that movie is like being a kid all over again. Same with STAR WARS, E.T. and even the first Indiana Jones flick. (Though those last three silms are not based on any book that I know of.)

    The lists could go on and on and on. That's for sure.

  17. Loved "Shawshank Redemption." It's in my top list of films of all times.

    I think you have my number pegged--homework.

    I do like lists, but I want to write down titles to find at the library.

    I last night began reading Tana French's "Faithful Place," and want to dig into it.

  18. Kathy: I'm the original list maven. Ha. I've hear a lot about FAITHFUL PLACE, but honestly, it doesn't sound like my kind of book. You never know, though. Everyone seems to love it.

  19. I like Tana French. This book is about a police detective in Ireland, who has to solve a long-ago disappearance.

    It starts out with wit. Also, a dysfunctional Irish family, divorce/custody issues, etc.

    I've read that it's a novel of Ireland, as well as a mystery.

    Several book reviewers, including at the NY Times put this book on their top-10 fiction reads of 2010, the only mystery on a general fiction list. That drew me to it, as well as my Irish ancestry on one side of the family, and I've been reading more Irish-set mysteries.

    You have very eclectic taste, and like all kinds of books, so maybe you'd like it.

  20. Great list! I totally agree with GWTW and Rebecca and Jurassic Park. The others I can't comment on, though I've never been too big a fan of Jane Eyre. I keep hearing about Cold Comfort Farm, it sounds like that's worth a read.

  21. It's a maxim among some, Yvette, that you can't make a great movie from a great book but that you can make a great movie from a mediocre book. While I can think of some exceptions to the rule, I think it's generally true. In my opinion that holds for most of the books on your list although Brokeback is a great movie made from a great short story. For exceptions, I'd cite Tom Jones and Women in Love.

  22. Robin I agree, generally, with your maxim. But I see a couple of exceptions on my list besides BBM.

    For me, COLD COMFORT FARM is a great book. Not in the category of Fielding or Lawrence (whom I have never read), but certainly, a great satire turned into a pretty special film. (If you haven't seen this, Robin, I truly recommend it.)

    JANE EYRE is pretty classic to me and has been turned into some fine films. But maybe you're right, maybe not 'great' films.
    I'm waffling.

    But PRIDE AND PREJUDICE gives itself over to some pretty great film-making, even if of the TV series variety like the Colin Firth version. So I'd quibble a bit there, too.

    Never did see WOMEN IN LOVE. But did see TOM JONES in its heyday. Tried to rewatch it a while back - it hasn't worn well.

    Wait, I might have 2 another exceptions: JULIUS CAESAR with Marlon Brando? Anyone remember that one? Shaw's CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA with Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains?

  23. The Bookstop: Thanks for stopping by. Yes, COLD COMFORT FARM: a great satire, very funny book. Turned into a very funny film. You can't go wrong with either the book or the film. I think a lot of us agree on certain films - I found certain titles on pretty much all our lists. This was a fun TOP TEN to work on.

  24. Kathy: Re: the Tana French book, I will take a look. I think Nancy Pearl loved it too. That always weighs heavily with me. I always feel out of sorts when I go to a book everyone else loves and I find myself going 'blech.' But maybe it won't happen this time. :)

  25. Well, you might or might not like "Faithful Place."

    There's always the subjective factor with books and movies, like everything else, even with "classics" or "great books" or "great movies."

    I was never a fan of Jane Austen's at all, although a close family member is. I never got it. I read different kinds of books, and always like social realism--and puzzle-type mysteries. (Of course, your post with a humorous passage by Austen may persuade me.)

    And my top book and movie lists might differ from that of others.

    Someone said to me on a blog a few years ago-- when I didn't understand why Tana French or French mystery writer (and genius, as far as I'm concerned) Fred Vargas weren't on some readers' top lists--there's no accounting for taste. Readers and viewers have different taste; it's so true, no matter what we're talking about.

    I find this with friends; everyone reads different books, and likes different genres.
    I try to figure out who likes what to loan out books, but sometimes I feel like I'm turning into a pretzel.

  26. Kathy: The thing is: you can't like the same thing that everybody likes and vice versa. I don't like a lot of stuff that people recommend. So I simply don't read it. I might give it a two or three page inspection, but otherwise life is just too short to worry about certain things. Ha!

    Fred Vargas is someone I've only heard about, never read. But I think one of these days I'll have to check him out. I have to admit I'd never heard of him until recently.

    So much to read, so little time. ;)

  27. Fred Vargas is a woman. Fred stands for Frederique. She is a medieval historian, and a brilliant woman, writer of quirky and imaginative plots.

    The series which is translated into English is about the disorganized, schleppy, yet brilliant Inspector Adamsberg. Other police officers are characters, too.

    You should start with "The Three Evangalists," which is about three historians who share a house in the French countryside, with their uncle. They are a neighbor of a woman, who suddenly finds a tree has been moved next to her house.

    That is the only one in this series to be translated into English so far. It's won many prizes.

    Give it a try. I had to buy this one, as my library did not have it. It's it, in my book!

  28. To clarify, Fred Vargas writes two series, one about Inspector Adamsberg; five have been translated into English. Sometimes the books have lots of pages to set up a crime, then the denouement goes on and on. It takes patience, but I will go anywhere with her creative writing.

    The other is about the three historians. Only "The Three Evangelists" is translated into English.

  29. FYI: Abe Books has "The Three Evangalists," and also other of Vargas' books, including "This Night's Foul Work"; that one has Adamsberg, quite smart.

  30. Kathy: My library has a bunch of 'em, but not sure about THREE EVANGELISTS. I'm double-checking. Thanks for the info. They sound good.

  31. "Faithful Place," is turning out to be more emotionally wrought than most mysteries, as the protagonist is the person (cop) who was hardest hit by loss.

    It's very good, with lots of snappy dialogue, which French is excellent at writing.

    Oh, my, why does life intercede when a good book is at hand? To follow this will take a good book, or the "post-good-book" slump will take over, an experience I had after reading Adrian Hyland's "Gunshot Road."

  32. Kathy: I know exactly what you mean. It's hard when you've finished an excellent book, to find another book that comes close. I get the 'slump' too. I'm feeling that now after finishing two very good books these past few days.


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