If novel is a poem, then film is a visual brevity
~ Michael Hastings, screenwriter~
Film makers have made good business by turning a novel into their motion picture. This trend is not new and its roots can be traced back to 1953 with the making of the major Shakespeare play Julius Caesar in to a motion picture, with the same name and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The first version of the play made in color came up in 1970, directed by Stuart Burge. Again, in 2011, came the much upgraded version of the play, directed by Adam Lee Hamilton and John Montegrande. So an epic literary play was turned in a motion picture not once, but thrice .
The list of some famous novels turned into major motion pictures are:
The Diary of Anne Frank directed by George Stevens, which came up in 1959, was based on a true story of a teenage girl, who wrote about the cruel Nazi rule in her personal diary as an eye-witness during the second world war in Amsterdam.
To kill a mocking bird written by Harper Lee, was turned into a film in 1962 with the same name and was directed by />
The Godfather American crime film directed by Franchis Ford Coppola in 1972, was adapted from the novel of the same name by author Mario Puzo.
William Shakespeare’s another novel was made into a film with the same name of the original novel Othello in 1995, directed by Oliver Parker.
In 2004, came the Vanity Fair as the same name of the novel by author William Makepeace Thackeray and the film was directed by Mira Nair, who is an Indian film director.
In 2005, came Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist directed by Roman Polanski.
Christopher Priest’s Prestige directed by Christopher Nolan came in 2006.
Last but not the least, came F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby which hits theatres this year. The movie was co- written and directed by Baz Luhrmann.
It has been noted that a third of all films made were adapted from novels almost every year. The major difference between books and films is that visual images stimulate our perceptions directly, while written words do this indirectly. Sometimes filmmakers make changes to highlight new themes or to give a different angle to the story. Some changes are inspired to make the original story interesting and applicable to a contemporary audience. Many a times it becomes difficult to even portray certain characters on screen. Successful film directors are the ones who do justice with the characters from the book in giving them a good visual appeal.
As said earlier, adaptations are not something new, but in a way this adaptation from novels to films lowers the talent on the part of the director who lacks to make a new script of his own! Nevertheless, it’s a very challenging work on the part of the director to show every aspect of the book into a film and keep to its originality. Hence, we salute them for their enormous hard work and also hope that with the emerging of new directors in recent scenario, we get to see something different on screen from what we have already read before!!