I have just been thinking about all the great films there is, and just how many of them are based on books. Most of the brilliant films that are adaptations of books are the older ones, 80’s and below. Just think of films such as The Godfather, The Silence of the Lambs, A Clockwork Orange, Psycho (1960, the Harry Potter franchise, Hugo, Frankenstein (1931), Jaws, Rope, while all of these are not masterpieces, they are great films. And there are plenty more where that came from.
Many ideas have thrived from literature and the simple reason for this is books are older than films. When I say many films have thrived from books, I refer to the films of early cinema. From the time of the creation of Motion Pictures, filmmakers have been adapting books and turning them into films. In 1910, there was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Frankenstein and later into the 20’s there was films like Greed, The Phantom of the Opera and even The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923).
The truth is there are just so many films to say are brilliant that are based on books. However, this is not to say there are no original idea on the world. While books may have been the earlier source of imagination (and entertainment) there are several originally written films that are brilliant. Taxi Driver, Metropolis, Back to the Future, Singin’ In the Rain,The social Network, Midnight in Paris, Modern Times, City Lights, Limelight, The Lion King, Citizen Kane, M (1931) and many more!
Books were one of the first sources for cinema for inspiration and filmmakers during the early 1900’s adaptations of books were a popular thing. Filmmakers and producers knew that it would make them popular as they are known titles and people were fascinated to see literature visually created on film. It is like how in 1931 Frankenstein was immensely popular for its depiction of the book, even though it is the second or third adaptation of the book.
Today, cinema still creates adaptations to books, and even vice versa. Over the past 10 years year have had films like Harry Potter, Drive, Eragon, Hugo, Lord of the Rings, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Twilight, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Chronicles of Narnia, good or bad (many have been bad) there is always going to be adaptations. It is not to say people who decide to do this are unoriginal; it means the book has inspired them to create a vision in respect to that book or idea.
Oh and another thing; being faithful to the book. Does this really matter? Sure, people may leave things about but probably because it either does not suite the film or just won’t fit in properly. Sure, it is important for them to be mildly faithful to the book and not being a bastardisation, but people always comment on how faithful it was and things they left out. Just leave it out of the way, unless it’s a true bastardisation.
For me, there really is no superiority between original films and book adaptations as it is easy to see both have plenty of backbone. At least 50% of ideas have come out of books in some way, and some of these books adapted to films have become inspiration for original films or even television series. If there was no The Godfather (Or Goodfellas), we would not have The Sopranos for example. I decided to make this post to hear what you think of original films and adaptations. Please give me your thoughts and thank you for reading!