Some film biographies, such as Finding Neverland (2004), admit to not being completely factual, but most do not, and the majority of such films are built up by drawing on a variety of sources, augmented by scenes imagined or created by the scriptwriter. The result, as in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980), may be superb cinema but should not necessarily be considered a definitive account of the subject's life.
Comic books and comic strips have proved a consistent source of film material, though the various treatments of Batman and Superman, for example, usually consist of rewritten works based on a variety of incidents taken from the original rather than an adaptation of one particular story. Many popular television series have been turned into films, such as The Addams Family (1991) or The Brady Bunch (1995), on much the same principle of selection, and the recent vogue for graphic novels has also spilled over into film, as with Ghost World (2001) from the original by Daniel Clowes (b. 1961).
Films for children tend to be either live action, as in the several versions of Little Women (1933, 1949, 1994) and The Secret Garden (most recently 1993), or animated, as with the Disney classics Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942), though more recent films from that studio are too often saccharine distortions of what were quite tough-minded originals. The digital animation of The Polar Express (2004) recreates the visual world of the book very convincingly. Opera on film tends to be similar to "canned theater" (Miss Julie), directed by Alf Sjo with a few exceptions, such as Joseph Losey's (1909–1984) Don Giovanni (1979) or Francesco Rosi's (b. 1922) Carmen (1984), which were well reimagined for film. And longer poems such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's (1807–1882) Hiawatha (1952) or Alfred Lord Tennyson's (1809–1892) The Charge of the Light Brigade and Geoffrey Chaucer's (1340–1400) The Canterbury Tales have become (very loosely) the basis for feature-length films. Overall, then, almost anything written, or even drawn, can be transformed into a film, either faithfully or altered almost out of recognition, with success depending as much on the skill and intelligence of the filmmaker as the often uneven quality of the original material.
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