After the book, had to see the film

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.
Midnight

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?

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About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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10 Responses to After the book, had to see the film

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    You must be crunched for time today, Jeff. I kept looking for the rest of your post! Where are the critiques? The whys, the whens, the wheres? Impressive list. Your tastes in reading seem to echo my father’s. I’ve read a few chapters of James Bond books and glanced at a few scenes, but never been able to sit through entire movies of him chasing, shooting, romancing, and escaping.

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    • jeff7salter says:

      Ha. I was barely able to remember the titles! We’ve had a chirpy little grandchild running about, bouncing into my study every 10 minutes.
      Re: the JB books — it’s been some 5 decades since I read any of them. The movies are so VASTLY different, in many cases they merely took the titles.

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      • Patricia Kiyono says:

        Chirpy grandchildren can definitely make it difficult to concentrate, but they’re so much fun. As for the movies, I remember dad enjoying the James Bond books, but he never got into the movies. They all had great musical soundtracks, though!

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      • jeff7salter says:

        I most remember the soundtrack of From Russia With Love, because my dad bought it and played it often. That was the first JB film I saw. Some of the other music, like the Goldfinger theme, also stand out to me, but most of it is just a blur. I guess I remember the Paul McCartney “Live & Let Die”.

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  2. I remember reading all the Little House books and then i discovered the series (in reruns) and though I loved the series I was disappointed at how much they changed everything.

    Also The Babysitter Club, I loved this series when I was little. They later made a movie, I think I was 12 when they made the movie (not sure) and I really enjoyed that. They seemed to stay close to the book, My daughter has since read the books and watched the movie.

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    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I forgot about the Little House series, Angela! I read all of them when I was young, and I watched the TV show when it aired. Yes, they changed a lot to romanticize it.

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    • jeff7salter says:

      It’s certainly satisfying when the film makes a sincere effort to stay with the content and feel of the book. That’s what I found with “to Kill a Mockingbird”

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    • I read the books with my sons and loved them.They changed the Little House stories a bit for TV,they certainly couldn’t show “Ma’s” hatred of Indians. The books didn’t tell of the brother born to the family; neither told of the other one or two that died. Nor did either mention Ma’s finally putting her foot down to move to a town where the girls could get an education. But then, I read that even Laura Ingalls Wilder changed the stories as she went along; there is no reason to think that they ran into the Olsen family again after their first encounter, no record to support it.She brought Nellie, et al back because they played well to her stories.

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  3. jbrayweber says:

    As I have mentioned in the past, I didn’t read much as a child. And while I read as an adult, if the movie came out and I saw it before I read the book, I wouldn’t read the book. I’ve tried, it doean’t work for me.
    So…
    Books first, then movie.

    Pet Semetary…Book was amazing, eh on the movie.

    The Great Gatsby…despite my struggles with the damn symbolism(curse you green light!), the book was good, the movie with Redford, good, the movie with diCaprio, awesome!

    To Kill A Mockingbird…good book, equally good movie

    Interview with the Vampire…excellent book, ok movie (eye candy was pretty nice, too!)

    Queen of the Damned…excellent book, movie, disappointment

    Twilight…Book sucked, as did the movie.

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

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  4. Quilly says:

    For the first time in my life I saw a movie that was FAR better than the book it was based on. “The Lightening Thief,” by Rick Riordin. My students tote the books around and rave about them, so I read, “The Lightening Thief.” It was okay. Not great even for a kid’s book, but okay. Then I saw the movie. So. Much. Better! The plot was tightened and fleshed out. One of the book characters became two characters in the movie. The movie ending was much more satisfying than the book ending, and much more sophisticated without loosing it’s tween audience appeal.

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