Honors English I Extra Credit 2017
Is Hollywood running out of original ideas? It might be hard to argue that this isn’t the case given the number of films in recent years based on novels and comic books. The Marvel Avengers franchise has earned $4,938,269,569 in the US market and $12,500,929,951 worldwide. One might be better off asking how Hollywood’s appropriation of written works has affected them.
Do movie versions add to the written word by providing a visual element?
Does the movie industry actually increase the number of enthusiastic readers as a 2012 article in the Atlantic notes? “If a movie gets more people to read, great; if avid readers get to see their beloved characters on the big-screen, that’s a boon too” (Doll). Check out the entire article here. On the other hand, movies are an entirely different experience; while reading requires us to become involved and use our imaginations and bring our own experiences into the book, movies lay everything out for us. In an editorial for The Guardian, one writer noted, “Films are great, but they just don’t have the same…inclusion that books have. You’re merely an observer.” I encourage you to read the entire article here.
So, here is your first six weeks extra credit project:
This project fits with this six weeks clearly as we study To Kill a Mockingbird. We discussed how Harper Lee respected the movie version of her own novel, so we know that movie versions can, indeed, live up to the novel. Think of a book that you have read that you have also seen a movie or televised version of. How did the movie compare to the novel? How was the experience of reading the novel different from watching the movie? Why do you think the movie version was different from the novel? What do you think the on-screen version added t or took away from the written version of the story?Finally, how do you feel about this trend for Hollywood to scavenge the best sellers list to find material for the big screen? Once answers start being posted, join the discussion. The more involved you become in the discussion, the more credit you will get.
As always, I will go first so that you have a good idea of what I’m looking for. Just pattern your discussion after mine.
Gone with the Wind
In high school, I read Gone with the Wind seventeen times. That’s right. I read all 1034 pages of that book seventeen times in four years. I loved that book! I still do. Somehow throughout high school, I managed to have not seen the film. I had, of course, seen pictures of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable as Scarlett and Rhett; they were on the cover of the second copy of the book that I bought, but I hadn’t seen the film. Finally, though, I rented a VHS (Yes. I’m that old.) copy and watched it. I loved it, but it was not the novel I had read so many times.
Even though the movie was a little over three hours long, there is obviously no way to put everything from a 1034 page novel in any film. I have seen this over and over in film versions of books. Filmmakers have to cut for the sake of time. In Gone with the Wind, I expected major elements to be cut. Scarlett lost an entire husband, children. I was fine with that. I liked the casting. I can’t even think about GWTW without seeing Vivien Leigh as Scarlett.
The images of the antebellum South were the same romanticized, if unrealistic, views as those presented in the novel. the point of GWTW is not to present a realistic view of the antebellum South; it is about loss of innocence; it is about how in many ways that picture of the South with Southern belles and gracious gentlemen was never as genteel as we remember it because it was propped up by slavery, but that’s another discussion entirely.
I had the opportunity to see GWTW on the big screen when the movie theatre in Gatlinburg (Yes, there was one here once upon a time.) showed it, and the scene of Scarlett and Melanie making their way through the field hospital was stunning. As the camera gradually pulled out to show the full horror of the hundreds, if not thousands, of injured and dead, I watched with my breath held.
That was over thirty years ago, and I still recall it as one of the most stunning images I have ever seen on screen. That scene drove home the horror of the war and how those two previously sheltered women had changed in a far better way than the novel had.
On the other hand, the very last scene of the movie felt all wrong to me. In the novel, Rhett is developed as loving Scarlett deeply, being willing to wait for, endure anything for her, do anything for her–until the very end when he is simply broken by her constant rejection. He isn’t angry. He is simply too tired to fight for her any longer. His famous last line in the novel is simply a weary, “My dear, I don’t give a damn” after she tells him that she has discovered that she actually loves him; he’s just too tired to care any longer. In the movie, he rather sarcastically says, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” as if he’s won a contest. To me, that rather said that the director never understood the dynamic between Rhett and Scarlett.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about a movie version of a book you’ve read. It doesn’t have to a movie that you felt did not live up to the book. Many movies do add much to their books.
The Nitty Gritty
- Only three people can do a single written work, so check the comments; it’s first come-first serve.
- The final due date is September 7, 2017. Absolutely no comments posted after that date will count.
- All comments are checked by me before they are posted, so if you don’t see your comment right away, it’s because I haven’t had the chance to read and clear it for posting.
- These are public comments. Do not put any information in your comment that you don’t want to share with the world. If you don’t want your comment shared, let me know in the first line, and I will not post it.
- PROOFREAD! Your comment will be available for anyone in the world to read; make yourself look smart!
- Enjoy this project!