1. What book-turned-movie was the most successful in your opinion and why? Least successful?
2. What book would you love to see made into a movie and who would you cast in the major roles?
3. Which book-turned-movie do you think was an improvement over the book?
4. Is there a movie that inspired you to read the book?
Okay, I'll go first.
#1 I think To Kill a Mockingbird would be my choice for most successful movie version. The casting was excellent. Whenever I pick up the book, I hear Gregory Peck speaking through the character of Atticus Finch and the essence with the story was treated with great care. I understand that Snow Falling on Cedars was a cinematic flop. I really enjoyed the book, but I won't spend money on the video unless it's shows up on Redbox for $1.
#2 I would love to see the movie version of Peace Like a River. I think Cameron Bright (& up & coming younger actor) would play Reuben Land and Jeff Bridges would play his father, Jeremiah. I see that a movie version has been 'in-development' since 2005 and it currently has a release date of 2011. Billy Bob Thornton is the only cast member listed right now. I still think Jeff would be a better Jeremiah (no offense, Billy Bob).
Thanks for asking question #3, Debbie. I read The Horse Whisperer after seeing the movie, and I was sooooo disappointed in the book. First and foremost, I considered the female protagonist of the book weak and sniveling. She didn't feel fulfilled. She was married to a nice guy who loved her and was a terrific father, and yet the cowboy--strong and silent, of course--totally got her. Ack!!! And the ending in the book was very, very contrived. Redford not only added spectacular vistas (including his face), but while the two main characters were definitely attracted (dance scene!), the wife left the ranch with the intent of saving her marriage, and the cowboy didn't have to die to make that happen, like the good father and husband was the woman's consolation prize. In short, Redford added nobility to the story.
After reading "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," by Rebecca Wells, I watched the film and loved every minute. To understand the finer points of character motivation, you'd want to read the book, but I thought the film was wonderfully cast. The characters were so much like old friends, I felt like waving.
I'd love to see "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett, on the big screen. Also, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
#3 & #4:
My all-time favorite film is "Chocolat." I read the book after (by Joanne Harris), and was stunned to find that the film was such an improvement. The book is much darker, with little of the humor and wonder found in the the film, and (it's been a few years since I read it, so this is from memory) less compassion.