Movies I’ve Watched Because I Loved the Books
By Jeff Salter
This is Part 1 of a two-week focus on movies and books. Next week, we’ll be looking at books we’ve read because we saw and enjoyed a movie. But THIS week, it’s about the movies we saw because we’ve read and enjoyed a book. Pay attention, folks, and keep it straight.
This will be additionally confusing on the two Hound Days of this series, because there are many books I’ve read after seeing movies … and many movies I’ve watched after reading books. And rarely, I have an example like, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I first saw the movie, loved it. Later read Harper Lee’s novel, loved it. Have since seen the movie many times and read the novel again. But, as I said, that’s the exception.
So bear with me as I try to parse out which movies I’ve seen because I enjoyed the books which inspired them. [As others have noted this week, sometimes there is very little shared content between a book and movie… other than title and character names.]
I’ll start with a movie I saw, because of a book I read, because I heard the author speak at a library event. John Berendt gave an interesting and entertaining presentation on how he wrote the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Because of that presentation, I was eager to read his book. After reading his fascinating book, I was eager to see the film (with John Cusack). The movie was okay, but not nearly as good as the book.
Here’s another twister: I didn’t read any of the James Bond novels until I’d seen my first JB movie, but after that, I’d go see additional JB movies because I’d read all the novels which had (presumably) inspired them.
One final wrinkle before I just list movies I’ve watched because of books I’ve read. I’ve read about a dozen of Shakespeare’s plays, so whenever a movie version comes out – like those produced by Franco Zeffirelli (e.g., Romeo and Juliet) or by Kenneth Branagh (e.g., Henry V) – then I try to see those films.
The rest of my list (movies I’ve watched because I enjoyed these books):
* Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose — thoroughly enjoyed that mini-series
* The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins — movie was excellent and so was the book
* The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth — movie was excellent and so was the book
* Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett — movie was very good and so was the book
* The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum — the movie was okay, but not as good as the novel
There are probably other movies I’ve seen because of books I’ve read, but these are the main ones I can remember at the moment. What re some movies you’ve watched because you enjoyed the books? Was the film version good or not-so-good?