NABOKV-L post 0007236, Fri, 6 Dec 2002 14:57:48 -0800

Fw: A more colourful example is that of Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov
wrote the novel ...
EDNOTE. For collectors of misinformation.
----- Original Message -----
From: Sandy P. Klein
Cc: Subject: A more colourful example is that of Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov wrote the novel ...

Films Based on Books

Reading books and watching movies are wonderful and entertaining ways to spend free time. Settling in with a good work of literature makes full use of one's imagination; the author sets down the story and characters in ink, but it's up to the reader to colour in the details using the mind's eye. Motion pictures, on the other hand, show a story from the director's point of view while filling in all of the visuals and details. A few extremely challenging original films have been made; films that really make you work to understand the vision of the director and the movement of the story. Also, both mediums depend on either the author or the director/screenwriter to outline the story at hand while at the same time leaving the responsibility of conclusion (figuring out what it's 'all about') up to the reader or the viewer. However, it is relatively rare to find a motion picture that raises itself up to t! he level that literature affects us - more often than not it is the written word that fixes in the mind knowledge, imparts wisdom and sparks creative, independent thought.

This is why motion pictures based on books are so fascinating. This is the format where both mediums come into play - the author creating, outlining and detailing a story from which the director/ screenwriter draws out an image to present to the viewers. Moreover, we are seeing the director's interpretation of the book - all the details that we see in our minds and take with us while reading. Sometimes, given a poor story or simply just poor direction, the end result is disastrous. Sometimes, just sometimes, when you combine a wonderful piece of literature and an extremely talented and creative filmmaker, the end result is glorious. The book truly springs to life.

Translation from Book to Film

A director may choose to represent a book through film in several different ways. One way is to try to tell as much of the story, line for line, as it was originally told in ink on paper, adapting only in order to fit the unfortunate time-lines to which movies must conform.

Using the Author to Create a Near-exact Adaptation

In order to do this, the director may seek help from the author in creating the film's screenplay. A good example of this can be found in the film The Princess Bride. William Goldman wrote both the novel and the screenplay, and Rob Reiner directed the film. With the help of Mr Goldman, the original story was followed very closely, albeit leaving out several 'side stories' included in the original novel. With Mr Reiner's direction, the 'feel' of the book was brought to the screen in spades.

A more colourful example is that of Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov wrote the novel and the 1962 screenplay. Stanley Kubrick directed the 1962 film, while Adrian Lyne directed the 1997 film with a screenplay written by Stephen Schiff. The first filmed version of this novel utilized Nabokov himself as the screenwriter, an unprecedented move considering Nabokov had never wanted to publish Lolita in the first place. Surprisingly (or perhaps not, considering Nabokov's feelings toward his story) this version does not follow the story as closely as Adrian Lyne's version, although it is filmed and directed brilliantly. Adrian Lyne's adaptation is the novel set to life, and therefore the favourite of the many fans of the novel.

Yet another interesting example of a symbiosis between author and director is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was based on the short story Sentinel, by Arthur C Clarke. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay together, and Kubrick directed the film. The screenplay was then later developed into a novel - a perfect example of what can happen when the two mediums intermingle.

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