Monday, March 22, 2010

Books to Movies: Readers' verdicts

The silver screen and the printed page have been nearly inseparable since the very first black-and-white movies flickered in dark theaters more than a hundred years ago.

And why not?
Novels, short stories and even nonfiction works provide an endless treasure of stories and characters.
That doesn’t mean something isn’t occasionally lost in the translation. For every “Gone With the Wind” or “Lord of the Rings” there’s a “Bonfire of the Vanities.”
So we asked a panel of film buffs and our readers to share their picks of the best and worst adaptations of books into movies.
A sampling of what our readers consider the best and worst movies ever made from books:
The best movie adapted from a book is "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).
Yes, quite a few elements in the movie are different from L. Frank Baum's book (silver slippers anyone?), but the core story of a little girl from Kansas being stranded in a fantasy world of wonder and danger remains.
This movie has stood the test of time and is loved all over the world. When I was a child it would come on only once a year, and I can remember anticipating its arrival almost as eagerly as Christmas morning.
Even when I watched it on my grandmother's ancient black-and-white television --and the movie never turned to color -- it was still a fantastic experience. If you doubt the power of this movie, try watching the eyes of a child seeing it for the first time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why we just can’t get enough of ‘Alice’

Almost 150 years after its creation, Lewis Carroll’s delightfully weird Wonderland world continues to fascinate — and to spawn merchandise. Jewelry, trinkets, clothing, cosmetics: We want it all.

March 07, 2010|By Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times

When Lewis Carroll popped Alice down the rabbit hole in 1865, he had no way of knowing that the girl in the pinafore dress — along with the creatures that populate "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and its 1872 sequel "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There" — would become a permanent fixture on our pop culture landscape.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) joins the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) in director Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.  
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) joins the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) in director Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. (Walt Disney Pictures)

The phenomenon encompasses more than the 100-plus versions of the book – the most recent of which, published last month, pairs Carroll's text with illustrations by Camille Rose Garcia and recently hit the Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestseller lists. It's something beyond the more than two dozen feature film incarnations, ranging from a star-studded 1933 version — in which Cary Grant played the Mock Turtle, W.C. Fields was Humpty Dumpty and Gary Cooper, the White Knight — to the Tim Burton take that opened Friday. And it's greater than the nearly dozen TV versions (the most recent a Syfy miniseries that included Kathy Bates as the evil Queen of Hearts who happens to run an emotion-emptying casino and Harry Dean Stanton as a shadowy operative code-named "the Caterpillar").