Wandering Through The Shelves has chosen book adaptations as the theme this week and it is another big one because Hollywood loves to make movies from books. Almost every time, the book is better and people are disappointed when they see the film. I always say, watch the movie first then you won’t be as disappointed:). Anyhoo, here are my 3...
1. THE GRAPES OF WRATH- 1940
If you haven’t seen the film you probably have seen the clip of Henry Fonda saying “He’ll be there” and is considered one of his finest performances where James Stewart, who won the Oscar that year, voted for his best friend rather than himself. The book is written by John Steinbeck about the Great Depression and how many farmers had to leave their home to look for work because of the Depression and the Dust Bowl that hit many states. We follow this family with the heart of it ruled by Ma, played by Jane Darwell. Her eldest, Henry Fonda, just got out of prison, and helps his family get to California and works for a pittance on the fruit farms. This movie is actually quite good as is the book but neither are uplifting but one should see this at least once.
2. DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE-1941
There are many versions of this story with even the fun flick, “Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde” being part of this, but this film, that stars Spencer Tracy in the lead, is not considered a great rendition. The more famous one is the earlier version starring Frederic March, back in 1932, but I still have to see this version. This story, written byRobert Louis Stevenson, never had a “barmaid”( think prostitute) or a fiancé but it doesn’t distract one from the film version and I always had a soft spot for this film. Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner switched roles because Bergman was getting sick of playing goody two shoes so she got the slutty barmaid and Turner was the wholesome( HA!) fiancé. I thought Tracy was ok if a bit hammy but I really liked Bergman who still played the slut in a wholesome way.
3. GREEN MANSIONS- 1959
Audrey Hepburn played the lead role of Rima the forest girl in the jungles of the Amazon who heals a young man, played, sadly, by Anthony Perkins, from a snakebite. He learns how a tribe wants to kill her but she is gentle, naive and one with nature. The film has its flaws, like Perkins and it does not compare to the book, written by William Henry Hudson, which has a fairy tale allure that is very hard to show in a film. You may have seen pics of Hepburn with a fawn in her home because the fawn was used in the movie and her director/husband wanted the animal to be comfortable with her. See the movie first, then read the book otherwise you will be disappointed like I was.
Which films would you pick?