(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Want to make your own list? Clicking the image will take you to this week’s post. Happy listing!)
Early in January I talked about how the book is always better than the movie — and now here I am, having to list film adaptations that I liked. This may end up being the shortest list ever, but I’ll give it the college try.
1. “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1982) – Old movies are practically the only thing my dad and I can talk about, and the 1982 TV serialization of The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of our favorites. Whether you’re into romance, adventure, danger, intrigue, close calls, daring deeds, disguises, trickery, a bit of silliness, or good triumphing over evil, this film has something for you. And the books are fabulous.
2. “Clue” (1985) – Okay, so this movie was adapted from a game, rather than a book. But it was done creatively, and with a fantastic cast. It’s funny, super quotable, and makes the perfect party movie. Just make sure no one cuts the electricity…
3. “Fried Green Tomatoes” (1991) – I saw this movie before I read the book, and so I’m kind of partial to it. Jessica Tandy, Cathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker, and Mary Stuart Masterson. The story flits seamlessly back and forth through time, chronicling the life of Whistle Stop Alabama, and the friendship between two women. A friendship to die for.
4. “Little Women” (1994) – I hope this is on lots of people’s lists. Yet another instance of excellent casting, plus a fabulous story that leaves plenty of room for character development. A grab bag of love, hate, war, comedy, drama, history, and a hint at the future. Louisa May Alcott hated writing this book, but I’m glad she did. And I’m glad it’s been adapted to film several times. It’s a great story.
5. “Pride and Prejudice” (1995) – My mom bought this on VHS (ooh, throwback!) when it first came out, and I think I may have actually seen it hundreds of times. The casting was perfect. I loved seeing the characters I’d read about come to life, including Mrs. Bennet, whose insipidity is rivaled only by that of Frederick Fairlie in The Woman in White. The main reason I didn’t enjoy the Kiera Knightley version (other than the fact that it was Kiera Knightley) is that it was too short, and too much was left out. I much prefer the mini-series. Okay, and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy might be the hottest thing ever.
6. “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) – One of my favorite Christmas movies, even though it’s not really a Christmas movie. This story has been through several remakes, and its original incarnation was as a play — written in 1940 by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo. I’ve never read the play, but “You’ve Got Mail” makes it on the list anyway.
7. “The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002) – I saw the film before I had to read Dumas’ novel for an English class. Although the film was fairly radically different from the book, I enjoyed them both for various reasons. Dantes’ toast at Albert’s party still gives me goosebumps.
Gazing back at my list, it seems to be the casting that makes me love the movie. I like seeing characters come to life, and I hate it when they get the casting wrong.
What book-to-film adaptations made your list?