Wed
Mar 16 2011 8:05am

For The Love Of . . . The Book, Not The Movie!

Yesterday, we turned the H&H spotlight onto upcoming films made from books; Water For Elephants comes out in theaters soon, while Hunger Games is still being cast. Not to mention we've been obsessing over the new version of Jane Eyre, and look forward to revisiting it with all of you when it's gone into national release.

Later today we'll indulge in some fantasy casting for a very popular series.

But, invariably, someone will mention a beloved book that was made into a not-so-beloved film, which got us to thinking about books to movies; which were the biggest disappointments (we'll do triumphs another time) in your eyes in terms of book to film?

Here's an off-the-top-of-our-heads list:

Pride And Prejudice, the 1940s version with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson

The Golden Compass

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The Watchmen

The Scarlet Letter with Demi Moore and Gary Oldman

Interview With A Vampire

So—what movies would you add?

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21 comments
SharonS
1. SharonS
any Stephen King novel. They just can't get it right in the movies . The last Harry Potter movie that came out was horrid!
Myretta Robens
2. Myretta
Dune. I loved the book and thought David Lynch (of all people) made a real hash of it on film.

Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park. Yeah, it was a well-made movie, but it sure as heck wasn't Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (as it was billed). Who was that person played by Frances O'Connor? Definitely not Fanny Price.

And, to much disagreement among my friends, I would add Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightly). Not a bad movie but not a great adaptation (in my opinion).

But... I think that The Scarlet Letter was possibly the worst adaptation I have ever seen. And I did see it, not unlike rubbernecking during a pile-up on the interstate.
Myretta Robens
3. Myretta
@SharonS. I would agree about most Stephen King movies, but I do think that Shawshank Redemption was great. And I might add that Stand by Me didn't suck either.
SharonS
4. Vassiliki Veros
I would say S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders was the biggest disappointment for me. A stellar cast, beautiful filming and wonderful acting couldn't overcome the fact that several of the pertinent backstories in the book were edited out. I keep hoping for a Director's Cut edition but the 20th anniversary DVD was just the original, hacked up edited film.
SharonS
5. BrittneyBelle
The Ella Enchanted movie was probably the biggest disappointment for me because that was, and still is, one of my favorite books of all time.

Also the Percy Jackson movie was a horrible adaptation.
SharonS
6. Wendy La Capra
The Scarlet Letter was a terrible waste of Gary Oldman!

The 98 adaptation of Les Mis was interesting, but disappointing. I liked that they included Gavroche taking care of the two children he doesn't know are his younger brothers. But Valjean slaps Cosette and the movie ends abruptly just after Javert's suicide. I just couldn't imagine Valjean sauntering off with a smile after watching Javert die.
SharonS
7. bella71
I have gotta sat Twilight I loved loved loved the book but the movie was really bad especially added a field trip scene when there was none in the book and didnt even put in my most wanted to see scene which for those who have read the book would be the blood typing scene
SharonS
8. Barb in Maryland
Well, it all depends on whether you have read the book first! Way back when dinosaurs walked the earth, I saw the Greer Garson/Larry Olivier version of P&P on TV. I loved it-the dialog, the costumes, etc etc-- so much that I ran right out and grabbed the book. Well, of course, having read the book, I could see easily see what they got wrong-Victorian era costumes, lead actors way too old for the roles and so on and so on. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for that version, for it introduced me to Jane Austen.

I have yet to see a good/true to the story version of The Count of Monte Cristo.
Personal worst--Ice Station Zebra. Absolutely wonderful suspense story(the book) that bears very little resemblence to the movie. The only thing they got right was casting Patrick McGoohan as the British agent!
Lisa Cox
9. brontëgirl
Yes it does depend sometimes if you've read the book first or not. I saw A Room With A View before I read the book and then when I read it I thought "Huh?" as per the interpretation of Cecil Vyse. But that is still a good adaptation, unlike the one that aired on PBS a few years ago.
Other adaptations that are disappointing--most adaptations of Wuthering Heights (the '92 one less so, but it still had interpretive problems).
As I've mentioned in another post, the '96 adaptation of Jane Eyre
was awful, and the '83 is definitive (but it still has a few problems including--SPOILER ALERT if anyone hasn't read it yet--the first proposal scene that was split in two scenes).
I thought the casting of the '70s adaptation of The Great Gatsby was kind of strange, 'cept for the roles of Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker.
Heather Waters (redline_)
10. redline_
Blood and Chocolate. What a massive disappointment. You can't change the whole *point* of the story and still call it an adaptation! It was just so awful.

@BrittneyBelle -- YES! I love Anne Hathaway, but that movie was just BAD. I reread the book a couple months ago but refuse to see the film again.
Megan Holko
11. filmphan
Time Traveler's Wife....what an awesome book unfortunetly the movie was truely terrible.
SharonS
12. LindaSRosenberg
Terrible horrible and very bad!
Also Barney's Version and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
SharonS
13. Hope Ramsay
I've hated every adaptation of Jane Eyre. I'm so abivalent about the new release.
Louise Partain
14. Louise321
I hate to list this one because the movie was spooky in its own right but end of Daphne du Maurier's novella The Birds was so much creepier than the movie!
SharonS
15. Janet W
The Eagle, based on Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth*, was a fine movie ... it certainly held my interest & I thought the two leads were masterfully cast. That being said, the book was far superior -- thoughtful, intriguing and generally bigger than the more simplified version I saw on the screen. *set in Roman Briton, in the years just after the building of Hadrian's Wall.
Aarthi Rajaraman
16. SeeJaneFly
Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley was a bad experience for me...especially compared to the BBC production with Colin Firth. Elizabeth's character seemed especially ill contrived and awkward...and the most timeless romance of all time failed to light a single spark on the screen.
Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy was terrible as well-missed the point really!
Alie V
17. ophelial
@bella71 I see your point about Twilight, especially the blood typing scene being left out. I still love the movies though since they're so campy and the cast is so pretty lol.
SharonS
18. bri_in_NJ
ITA about the Percy jacksion movies, probably becasue I loved the books! but I'm a history geek.

I've come to the point where I either wont see the movie, or will do that first and read the book second because some of them are sooo bad.

kinda wodnering what the adaptation of the Janet Evanovich Steph Plum book is going to be like...
SharonS
19. CindyS
I have to agree with S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders as well. It was the first time I realized that movies were definitely NOT the book. I loved the book so much and what they did to the ending was horrible and sad.

Which is the reason I won't watch movies made from Romance books because everything is just wrong.

CindyS
Rakisha Kearns-White
20. BrooklynShoeBabe
I love Interview with the Vampire movie but I read the book afterwards. (I liked the book much more but it didn't make me hate the movie.)

Sin City, entertaining movie but boring and less gripping than the graphic novel.

Age of Innocence--a decent rendering but did the book no favors. Michelle Pfieffer was wrongfully cast.

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (graphic novel)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Secret Life of Bees
The Heiress (a.k.a. Washington Square)
SharonS
21. Marina
Anything they make based on the books by Alexander Dumas. You can't really fit his books into a two hour movie. Hate how they chop the story up and change it however they feel like.
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