Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg

Which is better? The movie or the book?
by Karla Brandenburg

Are any of you watching Outlander? When first I read those books, I was hooked. Captivated. They sent me to Scotland in search of standing stones and castles and hunky highlanders in spite of bad weather and bad food, etc. The series has been brilliantly adapted to the small screen, staying very true to the books, which I find amazing and fascinating.

And then there are movies that aren’t even close to the books. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes that’s very disappointing. I have not read Lee Childs, nor have I watched a Jack Reacher movie yet, but I’m told Tom Cruise isn’t even close to resembling ol’ Jack.

Rebecca is another movie that was modified from the book, but that was to address societal morals of the time. A murderous hero was not acceptable in a movie. Sir Laurence Olivier was a very stiff Maxim (although I still enjoyed the movie). I’d also read that he and Joan Fontaine didn’t get along, so it was difficult to convince viewers that she’d captivated him.

What movie were you impressed with that either stuck to the book or strayed too far away?

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Comments

  1. I really enjoyed the Legend of the Seeker TV series, and it led me to read all the works in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. The TV episodes deviated from the books in one major relationship, but I still would have liked the TV show to continue regardless.And while the actor playing the hero was good, he wasn’t quite as tall or powerful as I would have pictured him from the books.

  2. tinawhittle says:

    I actually liked The Witches of Eastwick better as a movie than a book, but mostly I prefer books (of course). However, one book that was equally as good as the movie was The Princess Bride. Because both of them understood that as a story about stories, each had a different storytelling medium to inhabit. Glorious.

  3. A happy surprise was when “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the movie, followed with the book, even using the original dialogue often. Also, I liked the casting there and in “Strong Poison,” because I love the Dorothy Sayers series with Harriet Vane, and the script writers, again, stayed close to the book. Also, “One for the Money,” suited me well, even the casting seemed right. I wish they had done more movies of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Sometimes the movie makers visualize the characters and plots exactly the way I have. Love it when that happens.

  4. When, and it’s rare, I see a movie whose book I’ve read, I’m curious about what they left out and what they changed, I thought the movie “The Hunt for Red October” did an interesting job of what it kept, left out and changed, although it’s been so many years now, I couldn’t tell you what was what.

    ~ Jim

  5. If I’ve read the book, I’m usually disappointed in the movie because I’ve already formed an opinion of what the people and places look like. However, I had not read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse Series until after True Blood the TV serial came out. I loved the books better than the movie.

    • I remember reading The Amityville Horror when I was in high school, and I was so traumatized that I couldn’t have the book in the same room with me. When I watched the movie, I laughed through most of it.

  6. I don’t see many movies these days, but the one I think did the best job of sticking to a book while getting rid of excess was Hunt for Red October. Reading and watching are very different, and what works in a book doesn’t always translate to the screen. Barry Eisler wrote the screenplay version of one of his own first chapters as an addendum to the book just to demonstrate.

    • Outlander is in season 3, and I have to say I’m happy they’ve trimmed a lot of the excess from Voyager (the third Outlander novel). There was an awful lot going on in that book that they’ve managed to convey more expeditiously.

      • I bought the DVD for Season 1 and still haven’t watched it. TV doesn’t have playback for DVDs and watching on my PC feels too much like I’m shirking work.