I Like The Movie, But The Book's Better..."


When people talk about movies made from books, it seems like they always claim that the book was so much better. For good reason, the books usually are. Part of this stems from the practical limitations of movies, chiefly, they typically have to cut significant parts of the story so they're not three or four hours long.
Of course, books often have us in the character's heads, which is often difficult to do in movies, short of using narration, which is frequently awkward and doesn't really work well. Alas, in many cases, the movie creators deserve to be faulted, since they've changed the story to please fickle preview audiences, or they've watered down controversial issues so it can still get a PG-13 rating, and thus more customers, in the form of children.
However, every so often, the reverse is true, and since we are in that time of year when days are short, and books and movies are a favorite pastime, I'd like to discuss some of these examples. Bear in mind, these are only my opinions, many readers will disagree with some (or maybe all) of them.
There are spoilers for both the movies and the books, so probably don't read these if you still want to read/watch the example in question. All these examples are for books written separately, and before, the movie. Novelizations, written using the movie script, don't count.
1) "Misery"
Novel written by Stephen King in 1987, movie made in 1990. This is an example of a book that was very good, but its movie was simply more effective; a picture being worth a thousand words, as the expression goes. Nothing wrong with what King wrote, it was just more compelling to see it on the screen.
Kathy Bates owned this role, and it was refreshing that the Academy got it right and gave her the Best Actress Oscar. Although he's mostly known for his comedies, director Rob Reiner really did a great job here. The comic relief of the local sheriff and his wife was also a nice tension breaker, and not, if memory serves, in the book.
2) Any James Bond story
Books written by Ian Fleming in the 1950's and 60's, movies made in 1962 to present. I'm maybe cheating a little here, as I’ve only read "Dr. No", "The Man with the Golden Gun", and “Thunderball". I'm partially relying on the opinions of my father for the other novels, but anyway, the movies have certainly had their ups and downs, but overall, they're much more entertaining than the books.
Fleming should get credit for creating a great character, and drafting many of the plots, but his writing didn't impress me. His Bond seemed too grim, and the stories more dull, somehow. Granted, the movies were often unrealistic, sometimes absurd and cartoony, but sometimes this makes for more enjoyable viewing. Fleming's racial views (often expressed in the Bond books) were messed up too, and unsettling.

Read the entire article in the February 2023 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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