There has been a lot of talk lately in the world of culture about the overlap between cinema and books.
In the current austere climate, Hollywood seems to be concentrating on producing films that are adaptations of successful books.
This is not a new thing, of course. There is a long tradition throughout most cultures of re-using and adapting ideas from other forms and artists. The first science fiction film, ‘A Trip to the Moon’ (Georges Melies 1905), was adapted from not one but two novels – Jules Verne’s ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ and H. G. Wells’ ‘The First Men in the Moon’.
It makes sense for film-makers to use a story that is already popular as it should increase the chances that it will be successful.
At Waterstones we love it when that happens – we’ll sell more of the book, but also we can look back and think “I was right to recommend that to all those customers”!
Here are a few recent films that were adapted from books we were recommending before the film.
‘War Horse’ (Michael Morpurgo) – Morpurgo tells the story of a horse and its young owner through the First World War. Obviously about the brutality of war (and the roles of duty and honour in life), it touches on much more. It gives you a sense of common humanity through the love of nature, as we glimpse the opposing troops respect for animals.
‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (Stieg Larsson) – This is a classic ‘locked-room’ mystery and introduces one of the finest fictional characters in modern crime (inspired by Pippi Longstocking) in Lisbeth Salander, a hacker who helps a disgraced journalist investigate the disappearance of a girl 40 years ago.
‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ (Brian Selznick), filmed as ‘Hugo’ – One of those books that is aimed at children but deep and complex enough to satisfy the most demanding adult, this is a tribute to the world of early cinema (indeed, George Melies, director of ‘A Trip to the Moon’ is a key part of the plot).
In the next few months there are several new titles that not only will we be recommending, but which will probably be made into films. Hottest tip must be
Stephen King, whose ‘The Wind through the Keyhole’ is out in April.