Saturday, September 1, 2012

School Books That Have Been Adapted For the Big Screen

How many school novels have been adapted into movies?
Which would you rate among the best screen adaptations?

Shannon Vestal’s selection of the best classic novels adapted for the screen is a must read on Buzz Sugar. The School Books That Have Been Adapted for the Big Screen include Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

You will love the 2 hours 9 minutes of seeing the lovely Keira Knightley and cute Matthew Macfadyen in Joe Wright's 2005 big screen adaptation of Pride & Prejudice by Universal Studios. It was rated the best film of the year and also got four Oscar nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Knightley.

Boy loses girl, boy wins her back, boy loses her again and is killed in his pool. F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic Jazz Age tragedy once again makes a somewhat rocky transition from page to screen in this A&E production starring Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino as the feckless Daisy. This version has Paul Rudd (the stepbrother who got the girl in Clueless) doing the honors as narrator Nick, who reintroduces his married cousin to his lavish-party-throwing neighbor Gatsby. Toby Stephens captures the heartbreaking single-mindedness of Gatsby, although not once does the phrase "old sport" seem to fall naturally from his lips. Director Robert Markowitz uses flashbacks of Daisy and Gatsby's prewar courtship in an attempt to explain their reckless relationship, but they do little more than slow the pace of an already leisurely 93 minutes. The costumes and sets are opulent, however, and Montreal substitutes nicely for Long Island.
--Kimberly Heinrichs.

The following are scenes from the TV version of Pride and Prejudice.

Jane Austen's classic novel of 1813, Pride and Prejudice, still wins the hearts of countless schoolgirls with its romantic story of Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy. Now, the 1996 BBC miniseries is winning over adults, with its faithful adaptation, gorgeous scenery, and superb acting.

The essence of the story is the antagonism between Mr. Darcy, a wealthy single man who believes Elizabeth to be beneath him, and Elizabeth, who upon being insulted at a dance by the aloof Darcy refuses to associate with him in any manner. Austen evokes incredible tension with the wit and flirtation of the two characters, and director Simon Langton (who also directed Upstairs Downstairs) successfully translates the repartee and conflict in this six-hour miniseries. Dialogue, for the most part, is painstakingly replicated, except when fleshing out and smoothing for modern sensibilities was necessary. Darcy, for instance, is drawn out, giving his personality significantly more depth. The acting sweeps you away to Regency England: Jennifer Ehle (of Wilde) is convincing as the obstinate Elizabeth, who, despite her mother's attempts to marry her off, spurs the attentions of Darcy. And Colin Firth (of The English Patient) will have women everywhere longing for a Mr. Darcy of their own.

For those who have been on an Austen binge--enjoying such excellent adaptations as Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion--this miniseries will round out the ultimate Austen video library. For those new to these romantic period pieces, this version of Pride and Prejudice will have you hooked and longing for more. One caveat, however: plan to watch it in an entire day, because very few have the self-control to not watch all six hours in a single sitting.

--Jenny Brown

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