I love them. Always have. They’re not as good as a book, but they have an advantage that books don’t have. See, I can watch a movie and write a book. I can watch a movie and sew a dress, pay bills, help a kid with her doll dress, and cook dinner. I can do all kinds of things while watching a movie. A book– not so much. So, as far superior to movies as I truly believe books are, I have to say that movies are in my life to stay unless something shocking happens.
Books often make great movies, but not all books translate well to screen. For example, I think that if Charles Dickens was writing today, he’d be a screenwriter instead of an author. His books are uniquely perfect for the stage or film. Why? Because he wrote like a set director. The vivid detail in his writings (and I know he was paid by the word so he had every incentive) just seems perfectly situated for a career in cinematography.
By contrast, I think that one of my favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, is a terrible candidate for a movie. The only one I’ve seen them try to make was a dismal failure. I think part of that is because some things can only be told in story form to capture the raw beauty of it. Tenement districts full of impoverished people can have a tragic, romantic beauty when a tiny tree sprouts nearby that isn’t captured well on a screen. Years of history, disjointed in when it was told, works best in a book. On screen, it is confusing and jarring.
That said, there are several books that I’d LOVE to see done well.
The Harvester- Gene Stratton-Porter wrote several books that I think would be incredible movies if given half a chance and with a decent budget. I’d love to have a BBC “Masterpiece Theater” quality behind the books. David Langston should have his moment on screen surrounded by the lovely Limberlost. I also think that Freckles would be an incredible movie. The beauty of the area, the honor of these men, the women who admire them– they are all so very appealing and what an old book would call “true.” I’d like to see it.
Danger in the Shadows- The suspense novel by Christian author Dee Henderson just BEGS to be made into a motion picture. I can see Sara, Dave, and Adam. I know exactly how I’d want the elevator scene to play out. I can visualize her office, and I know exactly what the ice cream shop looks like. The sense of urgency in trying to draw the face of her kidnapper–I can feel it all. It would be an incredible movie. Of course, then I’d want the rest of the O’Malley series (of which this book is a prequel) to be made into movies as well, but if only one of those could be done, I’d have to say The Negotiator. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see the scene in the bank on screen!
There are others, of course. Favorite books that I could list for hours, but those two in particular come to mind every time the topic of books turned into movies appears. What book do you want to see as a movie? What scene just begs to be acted out by someone with real talent?
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