Tag: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Top Ten Tuesday: The Worst Movie Adaptations

Posted July 9, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Adaptations, Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

I had so much fun doing Top Ten Tuesday last week that I thought I would join in again. Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations. I want to look at ten books that should have never been made into movies because they never work and never will work in this particular format. These are mainly books that have a strong internal monologue, the emotions and inner turmoil is vital to the book and/or they are too many narrators to really work.

10. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
There was a mini-series that wasn’t too bad but the latest attempt at adapting this movie was so bad. I’m a fan of Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry and John Malkovich but no one could save this movie.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I’m sorry but the 2005 film just doesn’t work for me, there is none of Austen’s wit and only really covers the basic story. I only recently read Pride and Prejudice and adored it but most of the things I love about this book don’t translate to film.

8. Dune by Frank Herbert
David Lynch was faced with the impossible task of turning this seminal sci-fi classic into a movie and he failed, hard.

7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
One of those movies, I wish I could unsee. The book was so great, why would they destroy that with a film adaption?

6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The most recent adaptation was a horrible, horrible adaptation of such a wonderful book. It was weird how they did the movie and they left so much out. I’m not a fan of Keira Knightley so I was looking forward to the end. I’ve not seen any of the other adaptations of this classic and I never want to see them.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I keep meaning to write about the Baz Luhrmann version but keep putting it off. This is a book about unlikeable characters and symbolism, and that never worked. To be honest I don’t think Baz read the book and just tried to remake the old Robert Redford movie.

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
I’ve never seen a Dracula movie that actually works, it’s hard to be faithful to Bram Stoker’s seminal piece of literature and still try to adapt it.

3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I’m looking at you Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall. It doesn’t work and it shouldn’t be tried again. Try something like a modern retelling like Easy A, it’s not The Scarlet Letter but at least it works.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Most of this novel plays out in the mind of Rodion Raskolnikov; mental anguish and moral dilemmas don’t translate on the screen, I never have watched a Crime and Punishment adaptation and I don’t think I ever will.

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
No, just stop it, you will never get it right in a movie, you can’t tell both Victor and Monster Frankenstein’s story at the same time and explore their thoughts and emotion on the screen. Stop trying to ruin my favourite book.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Posted December 24, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic / 0 Comments

Ethan Frome by Edith WhartonTitle: Ethan Frome (Goodreads)
Author: Edith Wharton
Published: Penguin, 1911
Pages: 128
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

An unnamed narrator from a fictional New England town tells us about his encounter with Ethan Frome; a man with dreams and desires but stuck in a loveless marriage. His wife, Zeena is a hypochondriac whom he married out of a sense of duty. When Ethan falls deeply in love with Zeena’s cousin and their maid Mattie things start truly falling apart.

I’m going to put this out there, this book really reminds me of a Russian novel; the love triangle reminds me of Doctor Zhivago mainly. Then there is the bleak, cold winter climate that makes the book as dismal as the current environment. These elements are what really appealed to me. When Stephanie (from Read in a Single Sitting) called this book the most depressing novel ever written, I was sold, I brought the book right away and spent the day reading it.

Ethan Frome is a working class man trying to make ends meet, he is really struggling financially and having to deal with a wife who is constantly ill isn’t helping him much. He lives with his secret desires but then slowly moves towards taking action, then quietly submitting to life’s circumstances, this seems to be the endless cycle for him. This struggle turned this into a novel of the forbidden, as well as one of morality and duty.

Ethan Frome is full of symbolism; the cat and the pickle dish I believe was a symbol of their failing marriage, the gold locket represents love and finding it in Ethan. Finally there was the most obvious one which was the colour red that I think was used to represent adultery, similar to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. There were some more in the book but I won’t go into all of them, I just found it an interesting literary device to express elements that the narrator left out.

I know this may be the cynic in me, but I felt like this novel was a romance; the passion between Ethan and Mattie was strong and powerful; that’s what made this book so devastating. Zeena was a cunning woman that held all the power and while at times I felt sorry for Ethan for being stuck in a terrible marriage there was a part of me that thought he was just making it harder for himself by putting himself in a situation and dragging Mattie into all this mess.

You will either love or hate this book. It is truly depressing but yet in the midst of all this disaster it remained elegant and beautiful. The words were like poetry, I got swept away with the prose only to find myself heading for a devastating crash. It’s like a horror novel of obligation and no matter which way Ethan or I looked at the situation there was no escape. For a book under 150 pages, I’m surprised just how much it said.