A "chicken-or-egg" essay.

buzz-of-the-orient
By:  @buzz-of-the-orient, 3 months ago
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A "chicken-or-egg" essay.

egg.jpg

The question which has become an adage known to almost everyone is "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?"  How do you decide? Is it a matter of taste? If you like the taste, texture, look of chicken more than eggs would you decide it should be first, or is it the other way around if you prefer eggs to chicken?

Or could the deciding factor for your preference be which one you tasted first?

Does it really matter?  Let's apply that to the situations where a movie is screenwritten from a novel, or when a book is written with the story told in a previously released movie.  I believe it is a matter of personal taste.  It could also depend on the extent of a persons ability to use their imagination.  In my case, I first read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in grade 11, but did not watch a movie of it until many decades later. However, because P&P was instrumental in my choosing to major in English Literature at university, and I have read the novel multiple times, I have always considered it to be superior to the movies screenwritten from it, starting with the Laurence Olivier / Greer Garson version to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (including pretty well all the versions in between).  Although I thought that the BBC series with Colin First and Jennifer Ehle was the most accurate movie rendition, and that the East Indian film Bride and Prejudice was charming and entertaining, I still have to say that the novel itself is my preference.

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One benefit arising from reading rather than watching is that one's imagination can create pictures in one's mind that could be far more interesting and explicit than seeing an attempted creation of an image through verbiage that the novelist may have intended. On the other hand, how can anyone except the novelist themself display the visual that the novelist intended. Producers of such movies can only attempt to do that, or on the other hand can change it for many possible reasons to what is their own preference.

Recently I had the occasion to watch the classic film How Green Was My Valley. Although I have been to Wales, I did not see a coal mine, but the depicting of a community of coal miners, their homes and their coal mine at around the turn of the century remained vividly in my mind. I then coincidently started to read a novel by Ken Follet, himself being Welsh, where Part 1 of that novel was about the very same kind of population at a Welsh coal miners' village during the same era. Because I had seen the movie (which was based upon Lewellyn's much earlier novel, not Ken Follet's one which was written much later than the movie's release) I was able to really accurately visualize what I was reading about.

johnfordhowgreenwasmyva.jpg

Movie screenplays are necessarily very much shorter than novels, so much can be missed from just watching the movie.  My example is having first watched The Hunt for Red October, and then later reading the Tom Clancy novel from which it was adapted.  In that case, even though I had watched and enjoyed the movie prior to reading the novel, I was more gripped by the novel more. In that case, I believe that I had enjoyed the novel more than I would have had I not seen the movie first, because it was easier to visualize the images that the author was describing.

TheHuntforRedOctoberParamount1990.jpg

What is YOUR opinion about this?  Which would you prefer to experience first, reading a novel or a movie adapted from it, and why?

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Buzz of the Orient
link 02/28/17 07:20:58AM @buzz-of-the-orient:

I'm sure that many of you have read novels and then watched a movie from the novel's screenplay, and vice versa, so do you have an opinion on which you prefer the most - with an example.

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The_Jewel
link 03/03/17 09:20:02AM @the-jewel:

They are much different experiences.  Apples and Oranges they say. It would be foolish to compare.  They stand apart.  However, I usually find that I love both versions on the occassion I am willing to actually take the time to read a novel.

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Randy
link 03/01/17 01:10:19AM @randy:

Whenever possible I always like to read the book first, though that usually leaves me a bit disappointed in the film for all they have to leave out.

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Randy
link 03/01/17 08:19:17PM @randy:

Such as the example you have above of The Hunt for Red October. I read the book first and, as much as I think just about any film Sean Connery does is great, the film was a bit disappointing. First of all no one should be allow to play Jack Ryan other then Harrison Ford and that's who I "saw" in the part while reading the book. Plus a lot of the development of the character of the Russian Captain's part was left out compared to the book.

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PJ
link 03/01/17 08:33:31PM @pj:

no one should be allow to play Jack Ryan other then Harrison Ford and that's who I "saw" in the part while reading the book.

Actually Alec Baldwin was the first choice to play the character Jack Ryan.  Harrison Ford only got the part because Alec Baldwin turned it down.  I liked Alec Baldwin in the part but I also liked Harrison Ford.  I think both played the part well unlike some of the actors who played James Bond.  Sean Connery was the best imo.

Which would you prefer to experience first, reading a novel or a movie adapted from it, and why?

It depends on the novel.  I enjoyed the movie Jaws but it didn't come close to the book.  The book was spectacular.  Now, the Harry Potter books were good but I enjoyed the movies just as well.  It didn't make too much difference to me that the movie didn't capture everything in the books.

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Randy
link 03/02/17 05:07:22PM @randy:

 I enjoyed the movie Jaws but it didn't come close to the book.  The book was spectacular.

That's another one where I read the book first and was really looking forward to the movie. However they completely changed the Matt Hooper character (played by Richard Dreyfuss) who in the book had a one afternoon sexual encounter with Chief Brody's wife and ended up being killed by the shark, instead of being the mister nice guy and surviving like he did in the film.

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PJ
link 03/03/17 09:12:16AM @pj:

Yes, and the movie didn't convey the terror of the shark attacks like the book did.  I may have to go back and re-read it now.  lol

 

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Randy
link 03/01/17 08:52:15PM @randy:

A matter of personal taste I guess. Personally I like Ford a little bit better then Baldwin in the role, but that's just me. I do agree with you on some of the bad Bond players, for instance I don't like Daniel Craig, but my wife really thinks he's hot so she loves him. I do love Balwin's Trump though! Spot on perfect! As for Sean Connery I think I have never seen a movie he was in where he wasn't the best actor in it. He's just born to do it.

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PJ
link 03/01/17 10:03:24PM @pj:

Yes, Sean Connery was the best.  I never could get into the Bond movies with the other actors.  It lost it's appeal.  

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Buzz of the Orient
link 03/02/17 12:35:04AM @buzz-of-the-orient:

Me too. I wonder as well whether the first person who plays a part is always one's favourite. Alec Baldwin was the first person I saw playing Jack Ryan, and I don't know if I would like to see Harrison Ford in his place.  As well, can you imagine anyone but Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones, or Han Solo?

(Or Chewbacca? LOL)

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Spikegary
link 03/03/17 12:39:23PM @spikegary:

I thought Ford was too old to play the Jack Ryan Role, but I've read the entire series of Jack Ryan novels and see the entire timeline.

I've read most of Clavell's Works and I don't think any of them could be accurately captured in a movie.  Shogun was close, but it was a multipart miniseries.  The move version of Taipan was terrible, the miniseries, Noble House was a bit better.  But you don't get all the nuances that you can get form a book (real or imagined), so book is the direction I choose.

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Randy
link 03/03/17 11:21:21PM @randy:

I haven't read most of his works, however I remember watching the mini-series "Shogun" and I do believe it was the best mini-series I had seen until "Band of Brothers". Whole different concept I know, but in over all "I must see the next episode NOW!" impact.

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ArkansasHermit-too
link 03/04/17 04:07:44AM @arkansashermit-too:

I've read most of Clavell's Works and I don't think any of them could be accurately captured in a movie.

 

Agree Spikegary, Clavell's work hasn't been translated well to the screen.

Tai-Pan was one of my favorite reads but the movie version sucked.

 

To me the only book to movie conversion of Clavell's that worked well was "King Rat".  Great Book, great movie!

 

For a well done book to screen translation of historical fiction I'd recommend looking at the "Sharp" ITV television series of movies made from the Bernard Cornwell stories about Richard Sharpe, a British soldier making his way up the ranks during the Napoleonic Wars.  Both the books and the movies do well in capturing the sense of those brutal times and the harsh life of a soldier.

A similar shout out for these Hornblower movies, also made for British TV, from the C. S. Forester novels.  The books were well translated into these film productions.

 

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Randy
link 03/04/17 04:34:19AM @randy:

Definitely agree here:

To me the only book to movie conversion of Clavell's that worked well was "King Rat".  Great Book, great movie!

And here:

A similar shout out for these Hornblower movies, also made for British TV, from the C. S. Forester novels.  The books were well translated into these film productions.

Both very, very well done!

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Krishna
link 03/01/17 09:14:24PM @krishna:

The answer to an age-old question:

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Buzz of the Orient
link 03/02/17 12:37:06AM @buzz-of-the-orient:

That cartoon didn't need the words "Who came first" to make it understandable and funny.

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Krishna
link 03/02/17 06:42:34PM @krishna:

That cartoon didn't need the words "Who came first" to make it understandable and funny.

I totally agree. 

In fact, IMO those words actually detract a bit from the impact.

(But then again, I prefer the subtle. Most people don't...which occasionally gets me in trouble in online discussion forums).

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A. Macarthur
link 03/04/17 09:27:06AM @a-macarthur:

Interesting discussion and a welcome break from the FP!

By the way, THE EGG CAME FIRST!

It was a Reptile Egg that had undergone a long series of genetic mutations.

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