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Lost in Translation

A collection of movie adaptations


Adaptation ad-ap-ta-tion. noun 1. The action or process of adapting or being adapted. A film, television drama, or stage play that has been adapted from a written work.


Any adaptation is a translation, and there is such a thing as an unreadably faithful translation; and I believe a degree of reinterpretation for the new language may be not only inevitable but desirable.


Through out history books have been a favourite past time activity. Though this still remains true to this day we’ve adapted many books into films, such as Fightclub, Trainspotting, Jaws, Leaving Las Vegas & plenty more. Being a cinephile I enjoy learning about the films background such as; the director and if the situation presents itself, the novel behind the film. With this concept in mind I decided to document the following 15 movie adaptations.


Apocalypse Now Overview Joseph Conrad’s novel was about the Belgian colonisation in Africa, where-as Copolla’s film was about the Vietnam War. The film also has nothing in common other than the spiritual representation of Conrad’s novel.


Movie Title

Apocalypse Now

Release

1979

Director

Francis Copolla

Metacritic

90%

Book Title

Apocalypse Now

Release

1902

Author

Joseph Conrad

Goodreads

3.37

Synopsis It is the height of the war in Vietnam, and U.S. Army Captain Willard is sent by Colonel Lucas and a General to carry out a mission that, officially, ‘does not exist - nor will it ever exist’. The mission: To seek out a mysterious Green Beret Colonel, Walter Kurtz, whose army has crossed the border into Cambodia and is conducting hit and run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA.


Synopsis 15-year-old Alex, leads his gang of teenage rockers in all night orgies of random violence and destruction. This is Alex’s story of rapes and stompings and rumbles with the police, of prison life and the frightful “Ludovico Technique” by which Alex is “reconditioned” into a model citizen, and of his subsequent adventures as a mindless pawn in the cynical hands of the authorities.

A Clockwo


Overview Anthony Burgess has stated that the novel he is notoriously known for is the novel he would gladly dismiss as his own because of Director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation. Though Burgess says this, the cult movie has remained a favourite for over thirty years.

Movie

Book

Title

A Clockwork Orange

Title

A Clockwork Orange

Release

1971

Release

1962

Director

Stanley Kubrick

Author

Anthony Burgess

Metacritic

78%

Goodreads

3.94

work Orange


Willy Wonka and the Ch Movie Title

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Release

1971

Director

Mel Stuart

Metacritic

78%

Book Title

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Release

1964

Author

Roald Dahl

Goodreads

4.07

Overview Roald Dahl wrote the script for the 1971 film so there were minor differences in characters, like Charlie having a father in the novel but not having a father in the film. The film also remains true to Willy Wonka’s mystery.


hocolate Factory

Synopsis Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children ill be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim witted gum chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol toting gangster in training who is obsessed with television, and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life.


The Warriors

Synopsis Every gang in the city meets on a sweltering July 4 night in a Bronx park for a peace rally. The crowd of miscreants turns violent after a prominent gang leader is killed and chaos prevails over the attempt at order. The Warriors follows the Dominators making their way back to their home territory without being killed. The police are prowling the city in search of anyone involved in the mayhem.


Author

Release

Title

3.37

Sol Yurick

1965

The Warriors

Release

Title

76%

Walter Hill

1979

The Warriors

In the novel the gang which is primarily focused on is actually called the “Coney Island Dominators”, in the film the name was changed to The “Warriors” and is a gang of mixed ethnic backgrounds where-as the novel’s gang is either hispanic or black. Quite a few changes were made to the film so that it was not as violent as the novel.

Book

Goodreads

Director

Movie

Metacritic

Overview


2001: A Space Odyssey

Synopsis The year is 2001, and cosmonauts uncover a mysterious monolith that has been buried on the Moon for at least three million years. To their astonishment, the monolith releases an equally mysterious pulse, a kind of signal in the direction of Saturn after it is unearthed. Whether alarm or communication, the human race must know what the signal is - and who it was intended for.


y Movie

Book

Title

2001: A Space Odyssey

Title

2001: A Space Odyssey

Release

1968

Release

1968

Director

Stanley Kubrick

Author

Arthur C. Clarke

Metacritic

86%

Goodreads

4.01

Overview This is probably one of my favourite film and book adaptations because the book was written after the script had been made. Though the movie is more obscure It tends to be the favourite, as this is just how Kubrick makes his films.


Movie

Title

The Godfather

Release

1972

Director

Francis Ford Copolla

Metacritic

100%

Synopsis Tyrant, blackmailer, racketeer, murderer his influence reaches every level of American society. Meet Don Corleone, a friendly man, a just man, a reasonable man. The deadliest lord of the Cosa Nostra. The Godfather.

The Godfather


The screenplay for the film was done by Puzo himself so there isn’t really any difference in this epic motion picture other than Michael’s bodyguards Sicily, Fabrizio and Calo suffer different fates in the novel.

The Godfather

1969

Mario Puzo

4.32

Title

Release

Author

Goodreads

Book Overview


Jaws

Synopsis It’s out there in the water...waiting. Nature’s most fearsome predator. The seaside community of Amity is at its mercy. A small-town police chief, a marine biologist, and a modern-day Ahab must try to stop it. But they are only three men. alone against the Great White Death.


Movie Title

Jaws

Release

1975

Director

Steven Spielberg

Metacritic

79%

Book Title

Jaws

Release

1973

Author

Peter Benchley

Goodreads

3.91

Overview Peter Benchley’s novel isn’t necessarily the favourite in this comparison. Though the novel adds more depth to the characters It lacks some of the climatic scenes Steven Spielberg managed to introduce into the film. Such events include the way Jaws actually dies, in the novel the shark simply floats to the bottom of the ocean floor after being impaled with harpoons. In the film adaptation it is blown up after Chief Brody shoots the air tank.


Overview King might not have liked it much, but Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus pulled out all the stops. His film’s flush with startling imagery and a mesmerising, manic Jack Nicholson.

Movie Title

The Shining

Release

1980

Director

Stanley Kubrick

Metacritic

61%


Synopsis Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

The Shining Book Title

The Shining

Release

1977

Author

Stephen King

Goodreads

4.03

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel and that too had begun to shine.


The Silence of the L Director

Release

Title

84%

Jonathan Demme

1991

The Silence of the Lambs

Movie

Metacritic

Overview Starling’s romance with Jack Crawford in the novel is completely removed in the film version.


Lambs

Synopsis There’s a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who’s trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he’s willing to put a brave face on - if it will help him escape.

Author

Release

Title

4.00

Thomas Harris

1988

The Silence of the Lambs

Book

Goodreads


Movie Title

Leaving Las Vegas

Release

1995

Director

Mike Figgis

Metacritic

82%

Synopsis An avowed alcoholic, Ben drinks away his family, friends, and, finally, his job. With deliberate resolve, he burns the remnants of his life and heads for Las Vegas to end it all in the last great binge of his hopeless life. On the Strip, he picks up Sera, a prostitute, in what might have become another excess in his selfdestructive jag. Instead, their chance meeting becomes a respite on the road to oblivion as they form a bond that is as mysterious as it is immutable.

Book Title

Leaving Las Vegas

Release

1990

Author

John O’Brien

Goodreads

3.91


Overview When novelist John O’Brien heard that his first novel was going to be adapted into a film he apparently took it quite unwell and unfortunately O’Brien took his own life just 2 weeks before the film was awarded with an Oscar after being nominated 3 times at the Acadamy Awards 1996.

Leaving Las Vegas


Title 2000

American Psycho

Release

Title

Bret Easton Ellis

1991

American Psycho

Book

Release Mary Harron

3.63

Movie

Director

Author

Metacritic

Goodreads

Several names were changed in the film adaption, including Paul Allen, who director Mary Harron discovered was a real businessman.

64%

Overview


American Psycho

Synopsis Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures anapocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.


Overview A few characters were dropped in the film to keep the movie consistant.The book was originally published in a scottish dialect. A strong homage to Irvine Welsh’s writings.

Trainspotting


Movie Title

Trainspotting

Release

1996

Director

Danny Boyle

Metacritic

83%

Book Title

Trainspotting

Release

1993

Author

Irvine Welsh

Goodreads

4.02

Synopsis Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye’ve produced. Choose life.


Fight

Overview Movie Title

Fight Club

Release

1999

Director

David Fincher

Metacritic

66%

Chuck Palahniuk’s direction focused on the philosophy of Fight club where-as Fincher took a path towards terrorism. Though the film and movie head in different directions it is Palahniuk who wrote the script for the film adaptation.


t Club

Synopsis The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

Book Title

Fight Club

Release

1996

Author

Chuck Palahniuk

Goodreads

4.17


Filth

Author

Release

Title

3.63

Irvine Welsh

1998

Filth

Book

Goodreads

Director

Release

Title

70%

Jon S. Baird

2013

Filth

Movie

Metacritic


Synopsis With the Christmas season upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of Edinburgh’s finest is gearing up sociallykicking things off with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam.

Overview One of the main differences between the book and film is that in the book Bruce Robertson was made to be hated at first. This still happens in the movie, yet you soften to McAvoy’s charm and sympathize with his character. The film adaption was guided by Irvine Welsh himself, though he was told to ‘clean’ up his film or not have it made, it still has a shock factor that makes you realize this is truly an Irvine Welsh film.


Drive

Synopsis Much later, as he sat with his back against an inside wall of a Motel 6 just north of Phoenix, watching the pool of blood lap toward him, Driver would wonder whether he had made a terrible mistake. Later still, of course, there’d be no doubt. But for now Driver is, as they say, in the moment. And the moment includes this blood lapping toward him, the pressure of dawn’s late light at windows and door, traffic sounds from the interstate nearby, the sound of someone weeping in the next room.


Director

Release

Title

78%

Nicholas Winding Refn

2012

Drive

Release

Title

James Sallis

2006

Drive

Sallis’ novel has no linear plot, jumping around in time. This conceit was not used in the film. Nicholas Winding Refn also has a unique style where he tends to use the feel of the music to his advantage when it comes to cinematography.

Movie

Metacritic

Author

3.52

Book

Goodreads

Overview


Although the love for books will never die, it is clearly abundant that the love of obtaining new films will always be there too. Film adaptation single handedly changed the way we view novels. We were given pages of words that tested our imagination to the point of exhaustion. We took our faith in that the next indefinent period of time was going to be dissolved in the handywork of an author. Eric Von Stroheim was one of the very first to attempt this concept. Von Stroheim attempted to create a literal adaptation of Frank Norris’s novel McTeague in 1924, though this ended horribly as Von Stroheim ended up with 9 and a half hours of film footage and then later cut it down to 2, it was largely incoherent.Since Von Stroheim’s failure, the technique of film adaptation has improved by a staggering amount. So much so - that it has arrived to the point where the adaptations have start to become more popular than the novels themselves.


Lost in Translation Through out history books have been a favourite past time activity. Though this still remains true to this day we’ve adapted many books into films, such as Fightclub, Trainspotting, Jaws, Leaving Las Vegas & plenty more. Being a cinephile I enjoy learning about the films background such as; the director and if the situation presents itself, the book behind the film. With this concept in mind I decided to document the following 15 movie adaptations.


ISTD2013