Film Adaptation and Its Discontents: From Gone with the Wind to The Passion of the Christ
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Most books on film adaptation―the relation between films and their literary sources―focus on a series of close one-to-one comparisons between specific films and canonical novels. This volume identifies and investigates a far wider array of problems posed by the process of adaptation.
Beginning with an examination of why adaptation study has so often supported the institution of literature rather than fostering the practice of literacy, Thomas Leitch considers how the creators of short silent films attempted to give them the weight of literature, what sorts of fidelity are possible in an adaptation of sacred scripture, what it means for an adaptation to pose as an introduction to, rather than a transcription of, a literary classic, and why and how some films have sought impossibly close fidelity to their sources.
After examining the surprisingly divergent fidelity claims made by three different kinds of canonical adaptations, Leitch's analysis moves beyond literary sources to consider why a small number of adapters have risen to the status of auteurs and how illustrated books, comic strips, video games, and true stories have been adapted to the screen. The range of films studied, from silent Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes to The Lord of the Rings, is as broad as the problems that come under review.
Wheat,” introducing a bakery whose doubled costs for bread price poor customers out of the market), and point ironies (“In the Wheat Pit/The Final Threshing,” a process that involves not literal threshing but the Wheat King’s mad scramble on the ﬂoor of the stock exchange for control of wheat futures). All these rhetorical devices underline the central irony of the ﬁlm’s visuals: the contrast between the lively movement of excited crowds in the Wheat King’s world and the extremely slow movement
Golgotha; and the crow that pecks out the eyes of the unrepentant thief.37 The cumulative eﬀect of these revisions and supplements to the Gospels is to emphasize the unique intensity of Jesus’s suﬀering over his ministry and resurrection, to “make the Jews look worse and Pilate look better,”38 and to imply that a betrayal of the Son of God surely deserves avenging. Gibson has repeatedly denied, however, that Emmerich is his primary source. In his Primetime Live interview he told Diane Sawyer, “I
Mark as a secondhand account, and Luke as a third-hand account; Peter supposedly conﬁded his memories to Mark; Paul— not among the original twelve—to Luke.) With his frequent references to the Holy Ghost as the movie’s real director, Gibson oﬀers a ‘blessed assurance’ that his ﬁlm is the most authentic presentation ever of the way the Passion and death of Jesus actually happened.”40 Philip Cunningham, however, argues that literal ﬁdelity to the facts of the Passion, even were it possible, would
three ﬁlms in its extended DVD incarnation is a ﬁnal credit crawl lasting twenty minutes that lists all the charter members of the Lord of the Rings fan clubs, implying that they, too, are contributors to the ﬁlms. Yet the actual contribution the ﬁlms ask is the purchase of something—photographs, souvenirs, commentaries on Tolkien, and, of course, later editions of the ﬁlms. The Extended DVD Edition of The Return of the King is packaged with two coupons that oﬀer rebates to anyone purchasing both
bidders compete ﬁercely to purchase a manuscript of a scrap of Austen juvenilia, her stage adaptation of a brief sequence from Samuel Richardson’s novel Sir Charles Grandison, it proceeds to the ﬁctional tale of two rival stage directors equally determined to produce the dramatization. The traditional staging planned by Lilianna Zorska (Anne Baxter) represents reverence for history, received culture, and the classic literary text. The experimental production planned by Lilianna’s ex-lover Pierre