What, I hear you cry, this picture is of non-books. It’s not even of Nature. What’s going on? Well, I’m afraid today’s blog entry has catapaulted itself into the late-twentieth century (let’s not get ahead of ourselves) and is going to address Digitally Viewable Doodahs. Ok, I don’t know what DVD stands for, but it might as well be that.
Take a closer look at the DVDs. Can you spot a theme? A theme which supports my claim to be stuck-in-a-book?
Yep, you’re right – they’re all adaptations of books, or biopics of authors. Or both. Oddly, though I have some scruples about adaptations (yes, I am a purist – it’s just called standards, honest), it is these films to which I return time and again. Perhaps because the plots/characters will come from people who genuinely prize writing? I know absurdly little about the goings-on of scriptwriters in Hollywood, and what I do know has been gleaned from PG Wodehouse and Stephen Leacock, neither of whom are renowned for their strict veracity. Still, I can’t help thinking the endings to some of these films would have been different, had they started life in a scriptwriter’s office.
In case the photograph is too small, here’s a list of those featured:
The Hours – had mixed reviews, but it’s probably my favourite film. Perhaps not an entirely reliable depiction of Woolf, but Kidman’s role is far from the only focus of this film. An astonishingly good cast.
84 Charing Cross Road – I know Janice has been writing about Helene Hanff – and this film is so RIGHT for the book; it has the same atmosphere. Cosy, bookish, gentle, wonderful.
The Secret Garden – (see pic) the first film I ever saw in the cinema, on my 7th birthday. Still love it, and brings back so many childhood memories.
Pride and Prejudice – the 1995 BBC version, none of your 2005 film nonsense. Davies writes a wonderful script, with the sadly novel idea of using Austen’s dialogue. If only more adaptors would pay heed. Jennifer Ehle IS Lizzie.
Possession – speaking of Jennifer Ehle… This adaptation is AS Byatt’s novel is probably a little lowbrow compared to the tome itself, but, do you know, I coped with that.
The Camomile Lawn – more Jennifer Ehle, but as you’ve never seen her before… and the most mismatched hair/eyebrows combination in film history.
I Capture the Castle – (see pic) a beautiful film which made me fall in love with the novel all over again – another one of my favourites, though it did omit one of my favourite lines: “Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cure for depression.”
The Shipping Forecast – *hangs head in shame* I haven’t read the book… but strange film.
Finding Neverland – not an adaptation, but a biopic of JM Barrie. Again, not always accurate, but great fun and extremely moving.
Rebecca – Hitchcock’s iconic production does everything one could want from an adaptation. And it’s in black and white, so makes me feel clever.
Sylvia – another biopic, which doesn’t delve particularly subtly into the Ted/Sylvia relationship, and wasn’t allowed to quote her poetry, but does feature the cutest child ever, as Frieda.
Harry Potter x 3 – more good fun, and so many stars in the cast that it’s practically a galaxy. If only Daniel Radcliffe could ACT…
My House in Umbria – Maggie Smith is wonderful in this adaptation of a novel by William Trevor, which I hadn’t heard of, let alone read.
The Chronicles of Narnia – (see pic, ahem) I grew up watching these, and won’t hear a word against them. The beavers are REAL, ok? Beavers are seven foot tall, I’m sure. And the White Witch was terrifying.
Carrington – haven’t seen this yet… but the 18 rating is putting me off…
Not in picture:
Also have Iris, a brilliant turn by Judi Dench as Iris Murdoch, and Brief Encounter, from Coward’s play ‘Still Life’, but they’re not here at present…