I was heartbroken when I finally watched the movie adaptation of “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. Probably, I was expecting much more. Was I? The answer is a straightforward “YES”. I was just hoping that the three hours long movie would cover the story bit by bit of a seven hundred pages paperback. Sigh!
May be a TV series of 20 episodes could depict the story a bit more meticulously but nowhere close to the way the author told us. It was certain that the way the author has created all the characters and wrote voluminously about them, any reader would have the characters created on their minds. No great actor or location, props, background score can be supplementary for the characters built already in reader’s mind.
We need not compare two different forms of art. I am not attempting to do so. Cinema and Novels, both of them possess different scopes as well as measured of excellence with different parameters. However, both of them originate from the same motive to present a captivating story. The author tries to materialize all characters in reader’s mind directly whereas, the director, along with the team formulates the story in front of camera, and ornate them with locations, hire good actors to suit the characters, apply appropriate background score to captivate auditory senses.
Their dependency is unidirectional. You can have a movie based on a novel but I have never heard of a story written based on a movie.
If duration of association matters in any relationship to strengthen the foundation, then, readers spend much more time with the characters in a novel rather than with a movie. After reading a great novel, you would think about the characters but, after watching a movie, you would judge the actors and director based on their work and if you liked it, much of the remembrance would linger with those actors rather than their characters. After all they are stars. J
For this reason only, I prefer not to watch the movie adaptations of novels that I have already read or are in my reading wish list.
Short stories are not very often adapted for movies but they are not rare. In case of a thriller, one acts as a spoiler for the other. Based on individual’s preferences either of them can be pursued.
In some cases, the adaptation of novel in movies involves change in the entire background. May be the novel was written on Shakespearean England but the adaptation in movie was set in an Indian province. In that case, the challenge lies with the director entirely. He has the duty of not losing the adaptation plot and blend it with the new background such a way that it emerges as a new story in front of the audience.
However, it is very tempting to watch movies. I still have Lolita in my hard disk waiting for the double click. Not sure how long I can restrain myself to click on it before I lay my hands on the paperback or kindle version of the Vladimir Nabokof classic.