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.
9) THE THIN MAN
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.
8) GONE WITH THE WIND
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.
7) JANE EYRE
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.
6) WAR OF THE WORLDS
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.
4) JURASSIC PARK
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.
3) LAST OF THE MOHICANS
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.
2) COLD COMFORT FARM
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!
1) BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
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.)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
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.