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"Novels On The Big Screen: An Argument To Joseph Epstien's Article, "Reel Literature" In The Wall Street Journal"

1172 words - 5 pages

Movies are Magic. There is no way that anyone can say different. You are sucked in by them, you become a part of the characters' lives, you feel their pain and joy. Movies can do something to you to make you forget who you are, if just for a few hours. Novels can have the same affect. Again you become so involved with the characters that life as you know it comes to a halt. It is even more incredible when you take a novel, that is well read and loved, and bring it to the big screen. So many great things can come from the evolution. Of coarse, when attempting to do something like this, whoever is directing must remember that there are several important keys to making this transformation a success. It is argued by Joseph Epstein of the Wall Street Journal that movies made from novels "are on the levels of comic books." Obviously movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and James and the Giant Peach were not mentioned in Epstein's article. Novels made into films can be great if passion runs through the blood of every person involved with the project.I will give Epstein the credit that there have been films made from novels that were found wanting. There were movies made with actors that didn't fit the part, directors who made the story what they wanted instead of what the writer of the novel wanted, and producers who focused on the money to be made. When circumstances like these come up, of coarse a film will lack that special something. He makes a good point that "interiority has been the great glory of the novel, and the movies cannot really compete with it."Most writers dealing with the relationship of film to literature agree that film can narrate in the third person but not in the first. "The film must have a narrator like that of prose fiction and that film 'tells' it's stories as prose fiction does." It is important to have one to tell what the character is internalizing in a film because unlike novels we cannot know what the character is thinking. This person, this narrator, can help us get a more clear understanding as to why the characters do the things that they do. Sometimes though, we see complex characters that we would like nothing more than to understand them. But, the whole fun of the movie is to try and figure the person out.A good example of a novel that was made into a movie, with complex characters, was Gone With the Wind. Our leading lady obviously had some tough internal battles. Yet, in the end, after going through hell and back, she finally figured out the moral of the story. This film was a major success and was well made even though "the producer Selznick had never actually read the book before shooting." The film was able to capture the joy, the fear, the sorrow, and the pain that the characters went through. The cast was well chosen, and even though it took several directors before it was completed, the movie was just what it needed to be.Two more films that were just as successful as Gone With the Wind were One Flew...

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