Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flavorpill's 10 Most Badly Bungled Classic Book-to-Film Adaptations

What is it with Hollywood and so-called Classic Books? I followed Galleycat's link to Flavorpill's 10 Most Badly Bungled Classic Book-to-Film Adaptations and had a good laugh. Luckily, I've never seen any of them. Very discerning of me, I'm sure. Ha! Wait, I just remembered, I did try to sit through the film based on Pullman's The Golden Compass. But mercifully, I stopped watching about halfway through. (I did like the polar bear though.) AND I did watch I AM LEGEND, though at the moment I can't remember why. Oh, Will Smith - that's probably why.

Hollywood always seems to think they can make a classic book better (huh?) or more accommodating to its teenage male audience since, surely, no one else goes to the movies anymore. Take a look at the Flavorpill list. What other movies would you add?

I'd add five more classics:

The film adaptation for WATERSHIP DOWN (Richard Adams). Awful animation.

The film adaptation for WAR OF THE WORLDS (H.G. Wells) with Tom Cruise.

The film adaptation of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (Arthur Conan Doyle) Any version. I've yet to see this classic story filmed properly.

The film adaptation of DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS (Eugene O'Neill). Sophia Loren and Anthony Perkins? In what universe did this make any casting sense? Cringe-worthy.

The film adaptation of DRACULA (Bram Stoker) with Gary Oldman. Unwatchable. Give me Bela Lugosi any day of the week.

...and while we're at it: VAN HELSING (based on Bram Stoker's character) with Hugh Jackman. Unwatchable doesn't even begin to describe it.

These aren't the worst regular book to film adaptations, mind you, just the Bungled Classic Book-to-Film Adaptations. I'm going to post my own choices for all time worse adaptations one of these days.


  1. I've only seen Hound of the Baskervilles, and that, years ago. I'll take your word for it on this one.

    The others: I don't watch Dracula-type movies or science fiction.

    However, I am rather stunned at the Sophia Loren/Tony Perkins casting. What universe were the directors living in? Sophia Loren needed an equally charismatic and gorgeous co-star.

  2. Kathy: It's an old movie, but time hasn't lessened it's perfect awfulness. It is one of those embarassingly bad movies. Sometimes you just have to shake your head. Ha!

  3. Have you tried the Jeremy Brett version of The Hound? Brett does an awesome job with Holmes....

  4. I didn't like that one either, Bev. I hated the casting of Krisopher Tabori (I think that's how you spell it), an actor I dislike, as the Baskerville heir. So that spoiled it for me to begin with. Then the rest of it, I wasn't happy with. Even though I LOVE Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Holmes and always will.

  5. The Gary Oldman DRACULA is kind of bizarre - in a bad way. All that weirdo make-up, Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, art direction like an art student on a bad acid trip.

    VAN HELSING is such awful garbage, isn't it? Just another case of a movie stuido cashing in on their classics in the vault. I'm stunned how many people have NEVER seen Bela Lugosi in the original Dracula. Stunned. On the subject of VAN HELSING... What about those werewolf movies with Kate Beckinsale doing her Angelina Jolie badass action chick interpretation. What were they called? Junk. Maybe it's better I've forgotten.

    I'm pretty sure there a version of HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with Stewart Granger as Holmes and William Shatner as Stapleton. A made for TV movie back in the 70s. I saw it when I was a teenager and thought it was pretty bad. But then I thought only Basil Rathbone would ever be the perfect Holmes. Until Brett came along.

  6. Oh, the Bela Lugosi DRACULA is the only one as far as I'm concerned. Know what I mean? You can't improve on it. I know which Kate Beckinsale films you mean, John. But I've never watched them. :)

    I didn't like the Basil Rathbone version of HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES - cheesy production values. HATED the Jeremy BRett one too. Kristopher Tabori - GAK!! I just think that, for whatever reason, it's a hard story to bring off visually.


Your comment will appear after I take a look.