I love books, and I love TV, and I love films, and I love theatre. Basically, I love make believe, I love how things can come to life before your very eyes. So, I love it when they’re all interlinked. I find that I am especially fond of adaptations of classics, as sometimes I’d rather watch an hour or three rather than sit and work my way through (often) dense texts.
Earlier this week, I saw that there was going to be a modern adaptation of Little Women in film – Jo is a failing writer at college ect. The trailer for the modern Little Women got me thinking about my favourite book to screen adaptations, what I liked and what I didn’t, and also of the ones I really do not like.
Pride and Prejudice
I liked… the BBC 1995 version with Jessica Ehle and Colin Firth, as Lizzie is impertinent, pretty and has some pretty marvellous facial expressions. I thought some of the casting was a little off. Jane, for example, but they’ll never hit 100% on the casting. For Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, it’s become practically the blueprint for Mr Darcy, hasn’t it? I do like this version. I watch it at least once or twice a year. It used to be the soundtrack to my revision, as I have seen it so m any times I barely need to think about it!
I disliked… the 2007 film with Keira Knightley in. I know lots of people are really fond of that version, but Knightley as Lizzie Bennett just annoyed me. I can watch it, I just choose not to. On the plus side, Jane and Bingley were adorable in this adaptation.
actually, just any of the Austen books. I loved Sense and Sensibility 2007, hated the film with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet for reasons unknown. I love the Jonny Lee Miller version of Emma, but can’t stand the Gweneth Paltrow. Given half a chance, I would watch the BBC film of Mansfield park with Billie Piper as Fanny Price over reading it. There are adaptations to enjoy, and I tend to prefer the longer ones!
The Ruby in the Smoke
Phillip Pullman didn’t just write His Dark Materials. He also wrote The Sally Lockhart Series about a young woman in the Victorian Era who gets embroiled in a mystery after her father dies at sea. It’s a great read, I do recommend the first two books at the very least. These first two books were made into BBC films with Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart, Julie Walters as Mrs Holland, Matt Smith as cockney messenger boy Jim, JJ.Field as Fred Garland, and Hayley Atwell (<3) as his sister. It was an awesome film and I think it was a really good adaptation of a children’s book I had loved. I am glad they didn’t do the third book, I’m not sure it would have worked so well in the style of film the BBC used. But the characters in the book were excellently done on screen.
This is a fairly recent love. I watched Howards End before I read it, because Hayley Atwell was Margaret Schlegal, and Hayley in period dramas is the best Hayley (in my opinion!). I enjoyed the four hour BBC show so much, I went out and bought the book. I loved the book, and I have since watched the Emma Thompson 1992 film as well. I became an E.M Forster convert as a result of the TV series, and I think the adaptation was wonderfully done, having now read the book. And I promise, it’s not just because Hayley is in it.
Call the Midwife
The Call the Midwife TV series is based off a series of book memoirs, so I think that technically makes it an adaptation (or a dramatization, either way, it counts). I read all four books when the TV show first started (all those years ago…) and I enjoyed the memoirs, but it’s easier to get into the TV show. They are vastly different, of course! Call the Midwife the TV show, is first and foremost a drama, whereas the book is a memoir, but I have to admit, I really, really love the TV show.
a Series of Unfortunate Events
I read the series of unfortunate events when I was a kid – and I liked them a lot – I grew out of them before the fifth book though, which is a shame. I saw the film, and I quite enjoyed the film, even if it was so unlike the books it’s practically a different story. However, the Netflix version of ASOUE is awesome. I love how it mocks itself, as well as following the narrative style of the books really well. I’m halfway through the second season, and I’m trying to ration my episodes so I can enjoy it for as long as possible!
What are your favourite book to screen adaptations?