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Order Does Matter: Movie Tie-In

Musing Mondays2

What happens when you see a movie based on a book/story, especially one you’ve not read? Do you feel the need to track it down and read it?

The only exception that I saw the film before reading the novel is A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. Thanks to the hype of the film, directed by Tom Ford, and that Colin Firth was nominated for best actor in various film awards, that Isherwood’s long-buried and forgotten novel is finally back in print. Otherwise, order does matter—reading the original novel takes precedence to watching the film. This principle has left me behind with many of the films that are based on the original novels, until very recently: The Remains of the Day, Maurice, and Rebecca.

21 Responses

  1. It depends on my mood.

    If I enjoyed the movie and if I want to know more details, I will read
    the novel.

    If I feel that the novel might be better, then I will go for it.

  2. I always will read the book before I see the movie!

  3. I always go and hunt the book down. It is a bit of an OCD thing… and then I complain about one or other of them!! It is a habit I’m trying to kick!!

    • I agree it’s an OCD thing. Unless I have no previous knowledge that the movie is based on a novel, I almost always read the book first.

  4. Good question. For me, most of the time I don’t search out the book. But if I sense that there could be more to the story then I will at least google the book/author and find out more. The last movie that sent me looking for the book was Revolutionary Road based on the book by Richard Yates, And I was glad that I did.

  5. I am big on Book First. Although recently I have seen some fantastic films (like those you’ve mentioned), and sometimes (which I never thought I’d say, had you asked me years ago) the film is equally good, I still feel that the book should get first crack if it was the inspiration for the film.

    • Thank you. The book should deserve the proper tribute and respect if the film has been inspired by it. That explains the huge backlog of films I have yet to see. 🙂

  6. My rule of thumb is to read the book first, but sometimes that doesn’t always work out. One particular example that really upset me was with A Little Princess. We have that DVD from the movie made in the ’80’s I think, and has been a favorite of ours for years. Just recently, though, I read the book, and there were SIGNIFICANT differences. I was maddened, and really angry at the individuals who decided to make the movie way too Hollywood. I was in a snit for a week.

    • Once in a while there will be exception that the one you mentioned. I also watched A Single Man first before I read the novel, which has been out of print for a long time But I share your frustartion movies being too Hollywooded..

  7. I have a habit of needing to read the book first. I have found that my attention wanders too much if I try to read the book after the movie. So if a movie has come out that I know was made from a well-known novel, I will try to refrain from watching it…like The Lovely Bones. Haven’t watched it yet because the book is on my shelf at home.

    And how about Memoirs of a Geisha…I would have been totally lost in the beginning of that movie if I hadn’t read the book first.!

  8. In principle I agree: read the book first. Having said that, I admit it’s one of the rules of thumb I most frequently break. However, reading the book first allows me to form my own impressions and understandings of character and story free of the colorations and revisions imposed by screenwriters and adaptors.

    • Great point. I also like to familiarize myself with the impressions and setting of the book before heading to the movie theater. A lot of time screenwriter has altered the perspective in which the story is told.

  9. I very rarely watch the movie first. I’m always big on reading the book and then the movie.

  10. I think sometimes a movie will inspire me to track down ts source material. I recently saw Letters to Juliet and am now curious about the book which inspired the film : Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love. The movie was beautiful, but unquestionably hoaky – I think the book might offer more. (It’s a rare case when the book doesn’t outshine the film.)

  11. Movies do help me track down the literary source. 🙂

  12. In most cases I would agree, the book should come first. However, I find that in the case of films that were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it generally doesn’t matter. In my experience, Hitchcock very rarely, if ever, stayed true to the books that he used as the basis for his films, therefore, the book and the film each stand alone.

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