This week is another biggie-Adaptations, that Wandering Through The Shelves picked in which we can go all over the place, from author's alone(Shakespeare anyone?) to different adaptations of the same play (Scrooge..er...A Christmas Carol..135 versions! I looked it up). I decided to choose from 3 different "places" that a film version came into existence and hope you like them. Here are my 3...
1. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE-1945
Oh, come on, you think I will ever stop choosing this film? If you have not seen it, what is wrong with you:) This film, my all time favourite, started life as a booklet/short story called, "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1943. The rights were bought up and then laid there until Frank Capra decided to make it into a film for his first Liberty Films Studio (State of the Union was the only other made before Liberty Films folded). This is the first film that Jimmy Stewart made after he served in WW2 and he was suffering from severe PTSD during this time. One person who helped him through this was Lionel Barrymore who played mean old Mr. Potter. It's about a man who dreams of leaving the small town of Bedford Falls but, time and time again, something prevents him from leaving. He doesn't truly understand what his measly life means until he is given the gift to see what life would be like if he was never born. Brilliantly acted with some great character actors that greatly help the leads. Please see it.
2. BLITHE SPIRIT-1945
This is a fetching, British comedy that was originally a play written by the slyly witty Noel Coward, who told Peter O'Toole(star of Lawrence of Arabia) that if he were any prettier, the film would have been called Florence of Arabia. Thankfully, Noel Coward didn't want his play bastardized by Hollywood so he held off on it being filmed until David Lean decided to film it(Lean directed Florence of Arabia later). Noel hated the ending but it doesn't matter as it is considered a great film that was noted for it's technicolour and special effects. Rex Harrison is a novelist who wants background material for his new novel so he, with the help of his wife and friends, enlists the help from one daffy old medium played hilariously by Margaret Rutherford. They all laugh until Sexy Rexy's ghost of his first wife appears but only he can see and hear her. He soon realizes that his first wife misses him and wants him to be with her. This is very funny and should be seen before the new film that was released this year.
3. THE BLUES BROTHERS-1980
This film comes from skits that were done on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, the original not ready for prime time players. Jake Blues, played by Belushi, has just be released from prison after 3 years and is picked up by his brother, Elwood, played by Ackroyd. They were raised in an orphanage and find out by Sister Mary Stigmata(love that name) that the place can't pay their property taxes and will be razed so the 2 boys, who must have learned from Mickey Rooney on how to put on a show, decide to get their act back together and raise the $5,000 for this orphanage. Let's just say, they run into some problems with a ton of cops, a crazy gal who is trying to kill them(played so well by Carrie Fisher), Nazis and Country Singers. Some great music and car chases abound in this film which leaves your foot tapping and your stomach sore from laughing. It is a lot of fun.
So...which 3 would you choose? How many Christmas Carol movies have you seen? I saw 10 including Henry Winkler as Scrooge.