Today’s Shelf Awareness included a link to this blog post in The Independent (U.K.), discussing the “greatest literary moments in film”: not just film adaptations of books, but biopics of authors, and book-related scenes in non-book-based movies.
Personally, I stopped buying the old “the book is always better than the film” argument when I read The Godfather. The book isn’t bad, but it’s not the masterpiece that the movie is. Francis Ford Coppola found meanings, and depths of meanings, in the story that Puzo himself missed. Coppola also told a leaner, tighter story (much of the novel ends up in The Godfather, Part II).
I can think of several other movies that surpass their literary source material: Stagecoach; The Last of the Mohicans (the one filmed in NC); Chocolat (according to my wife; I’ve neither read the book nor seen the movie). I can think of a few that I’d call a draw, notably Gone With the Wind and Lonesome Dove.
How about you?