Friday, September 14, 2007

Books into Film

From the beginning, the movie industry has looked to literature for source material. Many of the Twentieth century's finest writers were brought to the movie-making centers -especially Hollywood- to adapt their own books into screenplays. More often, another writer or writers would be given the assignment of turning a book into a workable film script. Sometimes the result was a creative leap that expanded and illuminated the original work. Frequently, it wasn't.

In the 60-plus essays collected in Books into Film, Robin H. Smiley explores the creative process that puts words together into a book, then translates those words into speech and image and action on film. Drawing upon his experience as a writer and screenwriter and a lifelong student and fan of the movies, the author thoughtfully considers a wide range of books from high comedy to darkest noir, from science fiction to melodrama—and the films made from them.

Robin H. Smiley is the founder and publisher of Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine. Over the past 12 years he has written many articles for the magazine, on subjects ranging from Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner to books about the history of Apacheria.

A graduate of Pomona College, Mr. Smiley attended USC Film School. He has been a probation officer, teacher, writer and printing broker. He parlayed a lifelong love of the movies—exceeded only by his deep devotion to opera, a subject on which he is an expert—into "Books into Film," a monthly column in Firsts in which he explores the sometimes inspired, frequently troubled transition of a story from one medium to another.

He lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he and his wife, Kathryn, produce Firsts, ably assisted by a Shetland sheepdog, a greyhound and three cats. (from the book)

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