Browsing through some posts on Goodreads, I came across one for the novel, One Day by David Nicholls – the question posed: Have you read the book and seen the film, if so which did you prefer? I knew my answer immediately, and added my ten-penneth worth. It set me to thinking about other books I’d read that have reached the screen, be it cinema or TV. I found that although some of the some films came close, the books won out every time. So here are ten of my pennies, in no particular order, except the last being in my top five favourite films, and the book is pretty close.
One Day by David Nicholls– I definitely preferred the book – The film was ok, I didn’t hate it, but the character’s feelings and personalities didn’t have the same impact in the film. I couldn’t really connect with them, and was glad I had read the book first or I would never have picked it up.
To Sir with Love by E R Braithwaite – I liked both the book and the film for different reasons, but the book takes it by a margin. I saw the film, which is set in the fifties, first, but it was by reading the book that I really understood the teacher’s resolve and feelings. When looking for a graphic image of this I realised I had yet to read the sequel, Paid Servant, so that has now gone to the top of my ‘to be read’ list.
A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow – Set in the fifties, I loved this book, and as a teenager I read it several times over a three year period. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the film, but I didn’t like the TV series made in the eighties. As I remember it, it made Vic out to be a bad, selfish person, when I think he was simply unfortunate, and circumstance over powered him sometimes. The book is far superior.
Love Story by Erich Segal – I saw the film, which made me cry of course, long before I read the book. If you think the film is touching you really should read the book, I was in floods. I didn’t really enjoy the sequel, Oliver’s Story, which surprised me.
PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahearn – The book takes this hands down. If I hadn’t read the book the film would have been ok for a rainy Sunday afternoon, but far too much had been changed for me to enjoy it having first read the book.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton – I have enjoyed the various film and TV versions of this, but they didn’t capture my imagination quite like the book(s). I enjoyed discovering them again when my daughter began reading.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris – I loved Dame Judi in this, what a fantastic actress, but not enough to tip the scales in favour of the film. I found that reading the logic behind a character’s actions, or lack of them, pulled me deeper into the story.
Hannibal by Thomas Harris – I found the film atmospheric, and appropriately tense, and in some parts of the book I didn’t want to turn the page, concerned about what I might read. Whereas I found the film to be less frightening, but perhaps that’s because I’d already read the book and knew what was going to happen.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – This was a close run thing as I haven’t seen a Tom Hanks film which I didn’t like, so the book only just pipped the film at the post.
And last, but certainly not least ….
A Time to Kill by John Grisham – I loved this book, and read it almost non-stop from beginning to end. Then, quite by chance, and years later, I saw the film. None of the characters looked as those I had conjured up in my mind, but that didn’t matter. With a cast led by the fabulous Samuel L Jackson, it took its place in my top five favourites, and I simply can’t put one above the other.
Do you agree with the above, or have you perhaps watched a film that told the story better than the book?