Book or Movie?

When I work on the eggs, I need my background noise to be something that doesn’t distract me. I choose TV or movies that I know well, so that I can listen to them but not be tempted to look up too often.  This past weekend that meant binge-watching the made-for-TV Perry Mason movies that were showing on the Decades channel.

I love Raymond Burr and the Perry Mason character so it was pleasant to see many of the movies again. As I watched them back to back, I began to think about the films versus the books by Earle Stanley Gardner.  The original Perry Mason series in the 50s and 60s were based on the books, but the made-for-TV movies were pure fiction.

If a movie is made of a book, I usually try to read the book first – I like to know what the author wrote (vs. what a director wants me to see) and have my own pictures in my head before I end up at the cinema. Every now and then this strategy goes awry. When The Martian was coming out on the big screen, I knew that Matt Damon was the star so when I read the book, I did have him in my mind’s eye.  However, the book is SO good that I have no intention of ever seeing the movie; I don’t want my inner vision spoiled. I wish I had done this a few other times (Shining Through by Susan Isaacs – do yourself a favor and skip the movie). I never went to see The Desolation of Smaug and I probably won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time.

What’s your favorite book to movie?

34 thoughts on “Book or Movie?”

    1. Interesting. The Princess Bride was actually the other way around for me. I really did like the book a lot but the movie brought it to life in a way that my imagination just couldn’t. When the movie came out, I went to see at three nights in a row with three different people.


  1. I read the book The Godfather, after seeing the movie. I thought the book was actually sort of trashy, but Coppola made it into a surprisingly dignified and atmospheric movie, despite the violence.

    I haven’t seen A River Runs Through It. I saw a couple of scenes in preview, and thought, NO. Just NO.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. OT. Since Joanne is in Bloomington this week for her training she and I thought we would meet up tonight. 545 at Joe Sensers on the 494 Bloomington strip. Anyone is free to join us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OT: People with my financial limitations have it easy at this time of year. Nobody who knows my circumstances expects gifts from me. But this year I have found a perfect gift that even I can afford. I’m giving several people stationery, specifically the gorgeous photography cards Edith (ljb) makes. For me, this is the perfect gift. The cards feature beautiful photos from our region. Edith doesn’t charge much for them. This is a gift I can give without worrying that the recipient already owns these. And for me, these cards are a personal gift since I know Edith and the places where she took the photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Gotta say off the top of my head, favorite book-to-movie us Treasure Island, and I refer to the first movie made back in the late 50s or early 60s. Wow, did they nail the story, and the casting director was on his/her game that day. All the pirates, but especially LJS, were perfectly fierce and scary looking. Jim Hawkins had the wide-eyed innocence but also a spark of quick wit and cleverness that was believable. All the “good guys” were “properly British” but not excessively stuffy or haughty.

    One of the best adventure books ever written, and a damn fine onscreen re-creation.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The Nun’s Story – I think I got the book from a Scholastic order, fell in love with it (one of the books I read repeatedly), and then the movie came out with Audrey Hepburn, perfect for the character.
    Not so much for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (I didn’t read the book) – I heard that her Holly Golightly character could hardly be identified as a hooker…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some great books (most great books?) don’t work well as films. How many times have they tried to make a film of The Great Gatsby? All flops, as I see it. Books work so much better at presenting complex characters.

    And yet many action novels work better as films. I thought the Harry Potter books were meh as novels but the films are terrific. Would you want to read the Raiders of the Lost Arc novels in book form? Or Star Wars?

    Some works–especially mysteries and romance novels–fall in between for me. Jane Austen’s books are so enjoyable, and yet the films with great actors, music and photography are equally appealing.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. HI —

    I read ‘Hidden Figures’ after hearing about the movie, but not seeing it.
    I didn’t really like the book because there was SO much background on these characters that it took FOREVER for anything to happen. It was about the slowest book I’ve read,
    Recently saw the movie, and it was too dramatized…however I was glad I had the book for background reference even if it was slow. So a good mix I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. For me it’s usually a sure bet that if I have read the book before I see the movie, the movie falls short. True of Dr. Zhivago, One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and many. many others. On the other hand, I’ve often seen a movie based on a book that I liked well enough to seek out the book afterwards. That’s not to say that the movies mentioned above were disappointing or bad movies, I enjoyed them all, I just found the books more satisfying.

    My favorite author is William Faulkner, I just love his work, and know he spent some time in Hollywood working on movie scripts for a couple of his novels. Not a particularly happy time in his life, but I haven’t seen any of the resulting films. One of the baboons (I don’t recall which one) has mentioned that The Reivers is one of her favorite movies, and I have made a mental note to check it out sometime when I have worked up my courage.

    Brokeback Mountain, A River Runs Through It, and Sweetland (based on Will Weaver’s “A Gravestone Made of Wheat”) are all movies that led me to seek out the written work they were based on. I found both versions to be beautifully done, and works of art that could stand on their own merit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Having read “ A Gravestone Made of Wheat” long before the movie came out, I was unhappy with the movie. I thought the director made a hash of it, especially the ending.


      1. It was that screwed up ending that made me seek out the book. The movie’s ending made no sense at all. I still wonder why that major switch was made. We went to a reading by Will Weaver and asked him that very question, and, of course, I can’t remember his answer. He was involved as a consultant on the movie, so he did have a say in the change.


        1. I think they changed the title of the book after the movie came out, didn’t they? I wonder if the ending was changed as well…


    2. PJ, That would be me whose favorite book to movie is The Reivers. Wikipedia says “The Reivers, published in 1962, is the last novel by the American author William Faulkner. The bestselling novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1963. Faulkner previously won this award for his book A Fable, making him one of only three authors to be awarded it more than once. Unlike many of his earlier works, it is a straightforward narration and eschews the complicated literary techniques of his more well known works. It is a picaresque novel, and as such may seem uncharacteristically lighthearted given its subject matter. For these reasons, The Reivers is often ignored by Faulkner scholars or dismissed as a lesser work.”

      Our bookclub read the book, but the movie really is better IMHO…I love the visuals, and as I probably said before, especially the horse race scene in slow motion with Burgess Meredith narrating.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I grew up watching Masterpiece Theatre in the 1970’s. I read many a book after seeing it first on the BBC. I remember reading Pere Goriot and slogging through War and Peace, neither book I would have understood had I not seen it on TV first. To Kill a Mockingbird was the same way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, yes, To Kill a Mockingbird would be another favorite of mine…book AND movie. Have read the book twice, don’t know how many times I’ve watched the film.


  10. I’ve been enjoying The Durrells in Corfu on PBS – it is based on a trilogy of autobiographical books by Gerald Durrell, the first being My Family and Other Animals (which I know has been mentioned here by some baboon). I have only read a bit of My Family… but nave no doubt I would enjoy the books at least as well as the series.

    I also loved the book Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, which I read after I realized that the series only followed the author’s lilfe for the first three seasons. I plan to read her other two memoirs as well.


    1. that and wonder woman
      ( dick tracy was actually pretty good too)
      whe i stop to think about it superman, spider-man and the comic book hero genre is kind of made for movies

      dr suess cartoons ( not the grinch with jim carey)

      i was thinking today how much i hate to admit i simply can’t justify spending 30 hrs reading a book any more
      i am so far behind on simply everything in my life i find myself feeling pressured to finish this next ten pages and get back to responsible behavior
      i am loving both books this month
      both charbon and erdrich are great

      200 pages done 400 to go

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m guessing that you were the “someone” Tim? If you are and if you’re actually considering it we decided to go to Chili’s instead of Joe Sensers


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