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Can't forget Russell Banks' Big Year, with two great novels becoming two great movies: "Affliction" and "The Sweet Hereafter."


Adrianne took me to see Affliction the year it came out *on my birthday!* I'm still trying not to read anything into that.

I haven't yet worked up the courage to watch The Sweet Hereafter. Reading the book was painful enough, and we didn't even have kids then.

Anybody heard any word on the supposedly in the works adaptations of Cloudsplitter and Continental Drift?

Louis Donnelly

Dear sirs,

I came to your site via Terry Teachouts blog - a daily addiction. Your site is good too...

You mentioned 'A River Run Through It' as a good book to movie. Well, i met Norman Maclean's son John, at Barnes & Noble last year. He was there for a book signing of 'Fire and Ashes'. I told him a story I read of Malamud walking out of 'The Natural' in disgust with Redfords portrayal of his book. He lit up momentarily and said his 'father had the same experience with Redford on A River Runs Through IT' and refused to cooperate with Redford.

You ask for other suggestions of book to movies:
'The Maltese Falcon' to me seemed an apt movie adaptation of a book. I read Hammet's book prior to seeing the movie recently and it appeared to follow the narrative closely. Yet not to a detriment. Sometimes when a movie is too closely adapted it is just boring.

Anyway, great site, thanks and good luck,


Thank you very much, Louis. Glad to have you here.

Sounds like Malamud and McLean would have been happier if they'd taken Hemingway's advice.

Reminds me. Redford made another movie I liked based on a book I liked, The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols. I wonder if Malamud and McLean formed a club if Nichols would join.

The Maltese Falcoln is near perfect. John Huston came in on a great adaptation and he went out with a great adaptation. Not a bad way to bookend a career.

mac macgillicuddy

Mediocre movie from a great book: Ironweed. Poorly cast, too true to the book, screenplay written by a brilliant novelist and journalist who couldn't let it go.


I'm way out of my league here, but The Godfather may qualify. Or Starship Troopers (just kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).


No league here, jborel. Just a big tent. The Godfather's a great movie. I never read the book, though. And I have friends who love Starship Troopers. But then I know plenty of Heinlein fans who think the movie was sacrilege.


The Secret Lives of Dentists is a good movie based on a good short story (The Age of Grief, by Jane Smiley).

Good movies from good children's books: A Little Princess (the Alfonso Cuaron version, not the horrible version starring Shirley Temple), The Princess Bride, Anne of Green Gables, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (again, directed by Cuaron). A Little Princess and The Wizard of Oz were great despite the fact that they deviated from the books, because they they were true to the spirit of the books and kept much of them. But the additions to the movies probably made them better movies (especially so with Oz, since dialogue was not Baum's strong point).

Mediocre movies from good children's books: Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, Harriet the Spy.


The first films I ever bought my own tickets for were adaptations of classic novels - a lot of Merchant Ivory, I think the Howard's End adaptation has truly stood the test of time. Polanski's Tess I want to see again for that reason.
I feel some of the liberties taken with The English Patient were unjustified. When I can think of an unfilmable book I'll be back.
There is a charming underground novel in Australia called The Delinquents which was made into a forgettable film with Kylie Minogue - I guess one can be grateful in such a case that a film was made at all, but aaargh.
The recent film of 'The Quiet American' was rather fine, and a very good case for reading the book as well as seeing the film. One case where only seeing the film would be a betrayal of sorts.

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