Archives for posts with tag: film adaptations


“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”  HARPER LEE, To Kill A Mockingbird (J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960)

Photo: Author Harper Lee pushes actress Mary Badham (Scout Finch) during production of the 1962 film version of her novel. To Kill a Mockingbird was filmed in Southern California, and some sharp-eyed viewers have noticed mountains in the background of the “mad dog” scene — geographic features that don’t occur in the story’s setting (Maycomb, Alabama).


Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Gary Sinese and John Malkovich starred as George and Lennie in the 1992 film adaptation of John Steinbeck‘s Of Mice and Men.

With a pitch-perfect screenplay by Horton Foote — 30 years after winning an Oscar for adapting To Kill a Mockingbird — the film is a faithful adaptation of one of Steinbeck’s most moving books.

Other successful novel to film translations of Steinbeck’s work include The Grapes of Wrath (1940) starring Henry Fonda, Of Mice and Men (1939) with Lon Chaney, Jr., East of Eden (1955) featuring James Dean, and Of Mice and Men (TV Movie, 1981) with Robert Blake as George.


I just watched the trailer for the film version of The Life of Pi, scheduled for release on November 21, 2012. (Watch it here.) With a $100 million budget and Oscar-winning director Ang Lee at the helm, this 3D adventure is probably the most anticipated movie of the year. Fans of the now-classic book (including yours truly) wonder if the movie can possibly do justice to the source material. I have a hunch it will.

Unlike books such as The Great Gatsby, which are all about the lyricism of the words on the page — and how can you ever capture that reading experience on film? — The Life of Pi is all about story, and an exciting, unpredictable tale it is.

I first read the novel about ten years ago as part of a book discussion group. If I hadn’t “had” to read it, I might not have been able to plow through the sometimes-slow, expository opening section to arrive at the book’s exciting middle and profound ending. I’ve never had such an intense reaction to a book’s conclusion — ah, ha! — so that’s who Richard Parker really was! (Richard Parker is the charmingly named tiger at the heart of the book.)

In our book discussion group, reactions were divided — some people just couldn’t get through Part One (approximately the first third of the approximately 300 page book) to reach Part Two, where the story took off with: “The ship sank.” And by Part Three (about the last 20 pages), you understand why the author, Yann Martel — in a writing tour de force — set up the story the way he did in Part One.

I found The Life of Pi  enlightening, exciting, exquisite, exceptional. It was one of the most significant reading experiences of my life. Will the movie live up to the book? From what I’ve seen so far, looks like it just might .