Tag Archives: Literary adaptation

The Diary of a Chambermaid (1964)

Of the four adaptations of Octave Mirbeau’s controversial novel, Luis Buñuel’s version is by far the most faithful… and radical.

Gladiator

Going into production, Gladiator had nothing near a finished script yet one simple change to the start of the story turned it into the greatest opera ever filmed.

Cold War

Despite its title, Cold War is not an espionage thriller. Instead, Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based it on his parents’ lives. But it’s not a biopic either. So what is it?

Edward Scissorhands

Ever wondered where snow comes from? That and all manner of other wonders – and horrors – are uncovered in Tim Burton’s classic fantasy.

No Country for Old Men

While Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel broke genre convention, the Coens’ adaptation is a study in audiovisual chaos.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This western opened new frontiers for the genre; celebrity and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Films about writers are tricky propositions but you can roughly divide the genre into two eras; pre- and post-Mishima.

There Will Be Blood

Many audiences complain that Daniel Plainview is unlikable. But where is it written that characters have to be likeable? Characters only have to be interesting.

La Belle et la Bête

Fairytales transcend not just generations but cultures. Which may explain why La Belle et la Bête exists in so many guises and confronts so many issues.

Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali translates into English as Song of the Road, but the production was so arduous and fortuitous it should be called Song of Miracles.

Letter from an Unknown Woman

Max Ophuls’ adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella is more than a romance; it explores memory, delusion and the meaning of art.

Les Diaboliques

Often called the greatest thriller Hitchcock never made, Les Diaboliques is based on a book written to catch the attention of the Master of Suspense.

The Gospel According to Matthew

How did a blasphemous, homosexual, Marxist, atheist manage to make the greatest film about the life of Jesus Christ?

A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel is still relevant today because the Ludovico Technique is conversion therapy: Pray Away The Gay.

La Ronde

Released in 1950, Max Ophuls’ adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s scandalous play is a landmark exhibition of theme and style operating in perfect harmony.

Babette’s Feast

In adapting Karen Blixen’s short story, Gabriel Axel chose to omit the politics and focus on the religious parable. But really, it works best as a recipe for life.

The Leopard

All countries have troubled histories they would rather forget. The Leopard is a masterpiece that admits to those troubles as well as the failure to fix them.

Vertigo

Is Hitchcock’s Vertigo really the greatest film ever made? Certainly, it is a compilation of his many themes and tropes, as well as a critique on cinema itself.

The Rules of the Game

Reviled and banned upon its release, then seemingly destroyed and lost forever, Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game stands today as a victory for liberalism.

Le Mépris

When it comes to making movies about making movies, many directors choose to venerate the medium. Not Jean-Luc Godard. He treats it with contempt.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Why did French playwright, Edmond Rostand base his play on a real-life historical figure and then choose to turn his writing talent into a tragedy?

The Handmaid’s Tale

Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale has been described as timely. But there is only one time to tell it: right now. Which means always.

The Killers (1946)

Ernest Hemingway hated what Hollywood did with his novels. The only film of his work he liked was this classic adaptation of his celebrated short story.

The Age of Innocence

Best known for his crime dramas, Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s romantic novel, The Age of Innocence is one of his most incisive works.

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