Which is better – movie adaptation or book?


It is a general belief that books are better than their movie adaptations. Today’s needull discusses adaptations which are as good if not better than the books they were adapted from.

Perhaps these won’t be considered sufficiently major or demanding works to have suffered in translation from page to screen, from a verbal reality to a mainly visual one. But I can’t be the only one to have felt a kind of longing for something like that medieval moment; for an excuse not to discuss a film or a play in terms of what was missing or ways in which it was unfaithful to a literary original. Vladimir Nabokov likened the film of Lolita by Stanley Kubrick (1962) to “The swerves of a scenic drive as perceived by the horizontal passenger of an ambulance” – before he had actually seen it. (How would he have described the later, 1997 version by Adrian Lyne? Discuss.) It seems to be inevitable that the better we know a literary work, or the more we love it, the more an adaptation will be found wanting in the very things we value.

The complete article

Alan Jenkins — TLS

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