Film Adaptation Analysis

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1.2. Criticism of film adaptations

Although more and more theorists give adaptations a chance to be accepted and draw attention to what can be actually transformed from a novel to a film, criticism of adaptations is still an important issue.

1.2.1. Main roots of criticism By 1957 an analysis of adaptations was concentrated on a problem of fidelity. In 1957 an influential theorist George Bluestone in his landmark work Novels into Film criticizes film adaptations as it was discussed above. But at the same time, he claims that “the end products of novel and film represent different aesthetic genera, as different from each other as ballet is from architecture…it is fruitless to say that film A is better or worse than novel B” (qtd. in Griggs
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It is based on two clichés. The first one is about production: it is an opinion that directors simply film what they see, that filming is a mechanical process that does not implicate any hard work but “merely register[s] external appearances, and therefore cannot be art” (Stam 2008: 7). However, DeWitt Bodeen, co-author of the screenplay for Peter Ustinov’s Billy Budd (1962), claims that: “Adapting literary works to film is, without doubt, a creative undertaking” (qtd. in McFarlane 1996: 7). Besides, a film director always faces choices: in novels all the most important details are described, but a director of a film should also think about how to show other props. Another cliché related to facility concerns reception: Robert Stam quotes one of his literature professors, “it takes no brain to sit down and watch a film,” but Stam argues that the most important thing is not whether people read novels or watch films, but whether they understand what they read or …show more content…
Adaptations are considered to be parasitical on literature and, especially, on their source works because they “burrow into the body of the source text and seal its vitality.” But it seems that adaptor can never be right: if the film shows as much from the novel as possible it is seen as an “uncreative”, but an “unfaithful” film is a “shameful betrayal of the original” (Stam 2008: 7-8). As Kamilla Elliot writes, adaptations are recognized as doubly “less:” they are not as good as source works because they are copies, but they are also less than films because they are not “pure films,” they lack “representational fluency on [their] own grounds” (qtd. in Stam 2008:

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