BTT: Books vs Movies

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by: Superfastreader:

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I do want something different in a book than I want in a movie. When I read I want something that my mind can munch on, beautifully written or poetic language,the inner conflict of the characters. This doesn't always translate well into film. A director can sometimes get around this with beautiful cinematography or really, really great acting but it's tough. I've actually been impressed lately by a couple of BBC versions of classic novels: Jane Eyre and Bleak House. I understood Jane's attraction to Rochester better (and no it wasn't Toby Stephens. Well, he helped.) and Esther's distaste for Skimpole was more obvious. However, I found BBC's Persuasion ending was strange and un-Austen.

Sometimes a director or producers can take a totally different direction from the book. I've often found that the endings of movies have been completely different than the books to appeal to moviegoers' tastes. Sometimes for the better. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) was not only spectacular to look at but the ending was much more satisfying than the book's. I think it appealed to a modern audience where the book's might have been fine for a 19th century French crowd.

As long as there are books there will be movie interpretations. And that's okay. I think Jane Eyre will survive as Jane Eyre whether she's played onscreen by Ruth Wilson or Ellen Page. Jane is, afterall, a survivor.


  1. I've not seen the newer version of the Count of Monte Cristo and you have me intrigued by a different ending! I shall have to watch it. I know what you mean about the ending of Persuasion although I id enjoy the version as I developed a bit of a crush on Rupert Penry-Jones, who played Wentworth, and that always helps!

  2. I totally agree. I was also very impressed with Bleak House. Nice work! But that Persuasion was awful! I actually left a comment on the PBS website complaining about it...along with about 100 other ticked off women! :)

  3. I think I'm more of a passive movie times I like to basically disengage and let the images wash over me. Movies like The Other Boleyn Sister and Marie Antoinette were okay setting-wise, but I got so much more out of reading the books. I also tend to appreciate original screenplays over books, but there are some as you mentioned that are well done. I have been saving up the BBC's Bleak House, although I wonder if the fact that they were designed for television makes them somehow different than for the big screen.

  4. I don't mind when a film goes on a tangent from the book that inspired it. One of my favorite books is The Club Dumas and one of my favorite films is the Ninth Gate. One inspired the other but they are as different as apples and oranges. Happy BTT.

  5. I agree that some parts of the movies are produced differently so as to suit to moviegoers' tastes, which I feel is a sad thing. I mean, if they are adaptions from the books, they should at least follow as closely as possible, or else why produce them in the first place? Oh well... just my 0.2 cents. ;)

  6. It bothers me when movie producers completely change a plot or an ending and then call it by the same name as the book. Please don't rewrite classics! I say, if the book isn't going to work as a movie, it should not be made into a movie. If it is, it should have a different name completely. I guess thh fact that movie producers interpret things their own way is one reason I don't like movies (of books) much.

  7. I agree that books and movies exist as separate story-telling methods and should be judged on their merits within their own media: is a good movie? is a it a good book? Not, is the movie a good representation of the book (as they use different storytelling techniques).
    This, of course, is much harder to do if you read the book and then see the movie. It's pretty much impossible to be objective because you already know the story.


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