Sunday, July 31, 2011

Books vs Movies: The Great Matchup

Most people will tell you the book is always better than the movie. I certainly agree with that statement. I still refuse to forgive the making of Michael Crichton’s book, Timeline, into a movie.

To say it was a joke is an understatement. If you haven’t read the book please do so it has everything: mystery, romance, science fiction, action, history, and drama. It doesn’t leave a genre out except maybe western, but there are posses and horses.

However, there are three movies that compete with my affections for the book:

The first one is Rebecca.

The book captured my attention my junior year in high school. Beautifully written with a mystery unlike any other, and it seems nearly impossible, but it isn’t until you’ve read the entire book you realize you never know the main character, the narrator’s name. 

As a young girl I felt the fears and hesitations of the second Mrs. deWinter, and with time have come to understand and appreciate so much more of what Daphne DuMaurie did in this brilliant novel.

So, when I found out there was a movie version of the book I was slightly skeptical, but it was done by the ever cool Alfred Hitchcock. And so I rented the movie from JJ’s Video where I worked:

Alfred Hitchcock’s version of this movie is beyond beautiful. The look and feel of Manderly, the emotions from the actors, and the overall story were wonderfully rendered in this black and white film. Laurence Olivier plays a wonderfully handsome, warm, ever cool if not slightly scary Maxim deWinter. Joan Fontaine is perfect as the ever awkward and unsure 2nd Mrs. deWinter.

Plus my crush on George Sanders still holds up even though he plays Rebecca’s cousin.

The movie very much veers from the book in the manner of the death of Rebecca deWinter, and the ending. However, the slight innocence in this movie was refreshing and gave the story a more hopeful outlook versus the book.

Although if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, read the book first! I don’t think you can truly appreciate all that Alfred Hitchcock brings to life without having read the book first.

 The second movie and book combo is The Princess Bride.

Inconceivable, I know. I was always a fan of the movie, not knowing that it was based on the book. Then in my freshman year of high school I had read through Animal Farm faster than the other students (mostly out of sheer will to finish it. I hated that book!) and my teacher said I could read something a little more fun to counter balance what we were reading. I had a hard time reading it in class I was laughing so hard.

The movie has nothing on the book in terms of laughter and that is saying something. The movie does a great job with Prince Humperdink, Princess Buttercup, and of course the amazing Wesley (played by the crush worthy Carey Elwes).

And while the movie brings out the wonderful romance of Wesley and Buttercup I can’t help but think of the description set out in the book. And this is where the movie and the book do battle in my mind. Quite frankly they are both stellar and no matter what order you go in movie or book first both should delight in the most endearing of ways.

The final movie and book combo is Pride & Prejudice

I'll be honest when I was younger I had a hard time reading this book.  However, soon I got into the rhythm of the language and I, like so many others, fell in love with the book.

When I was younger I didn't understand Mr. Darcy that well, but the older I got the more it made sense.  Although I always identified more with Jane than Elizabeth, I always admired and longed-for Elizabeth's boldness.

(On a personal note I always thought Jane should do better because Mr. Bingley seemed like such a push over and I was never sure he would continually take care of her.)....

There have been several versions of this amazing book, but none of them come close to the 1995 A&E version of the book.  Colin Firth was the PERFECT Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle did wonderful as his match, Elizabeth Bennett.

The movie does last five hours, but it brings to life the book.  If you aren't into Pride & Prejudice and want to shortcut watch this movie.  I quite enjoyed the version with Keira Knightly, but this one will always remain the closest and first movie that fully and wonderfully matched the book.

So what movie do you think did the book justice?

Speaking of movie magic... don't forget the music!  This is one of my favorite musical pieces of all time:

Jurassic Park Theme Song
by: John Williams

Much Love,