Literature and Film


Film is a natural extension of literature, but how often do people lament that movies never meet the expectations raised by books?  Well, of course!  There are no limits or budgets to the imagination.  But movies are magic. It’s a surreal experience to see your book-generated fantasies and imaginings on a larger than life screen. 

It’s true that movies almost never measure up to the written word, but rather than dwell on that, why not watch the film as an interpretation of a book rather than a copy of a book?  Dr. Kathy Brown of Stevenson University has a book coming out in June called Teaching Literary Theory Using Film Adaptations.  As a student of Dr. Brown’s years ago, I explored the idea of film as literary interpretation in her classes.  It really helped me validate the use of movies as an extension of literature in ways I hadn’t before considered. 

In recent months I’ve seen several movies that I have either a) liked better than the book, or b) made me like the book more than I had before seeing the movie.  I liked the movie The Jane Austen Book Club better than the book. (Thanks for the recommendation, Heather!)  The movie, Atonement, was a great complement for the book.  I liked the movie for Cold Mountain as much as the book–okay, more, because of Jude Law. 😉

Finally, the inspiration for this post is a trailer I saw today for one of my all-time favorite books.  I can’t wait to see how it measures up.


4 thoughts on “Literature and Film

  1. Heather J. says:

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. nstodard says:

    The Reader, for which Kate Winslet won the Best Actress Oscar this year, presents another opportunity to test the merits of book vs. movie. I found the movie incredibly powerful…and now plan to read the book…

  3. Tracy H says:

    We’ve added Where the Wild Things Are back into our “regular reading” in preparation for the movie coming out. I think the trailer is amazing! But, I know my girls and they are going to be too chicken to see it. I guess Jeff & I will have to go alone!

  4. damyantig says:

    I watched Marley and Me after reading the book, and the book is way better. In the book, Marley the dog is the main character, whereas in the movie, the dog is just a subplot.

    Just finished reading Lost Horizon by James Hilton–and it was like a movie in my head.

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