Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Unfilmable novels

Earlier this month Screenhead ran an interesting feature on "The Unfilmables: A List of the Hardest Novels to Film."

The writer lists "the most difficult novels to adapt, and who, if any, is fit to do that job."

Novels by Beckett, Joyce, Proust, García Márquez, and other make the list.

The entry for J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye:
This is partly here because while reclusive author JD Salinger ... lives and breathes, this seminal novel will never go near the silver screen. In fact, each new print of Catcher in the Rye contains a hidden device that causes TVs and DVD players to explode when placed too close. But even when Salinger’s reign over his work fades, I still deem this book very difficult to adapt. It’s charm is in the adolescent thoughts of main character Holden Caufield, who acts with delightful bitterness, while secretly spotting the “phonies” all around him. It’s an incredibly difficult task to capture this in cinema without resorting to the laziness of including a voice-over.

If anyone can do this: At first I thought of Ang Lee and his adaptation of ‘The Ice Storm’. But I would love to see Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach highlight the humour of the novel. Both have proven their ability to combine hilarity with the literary, especially the latter’s touching The Squid and the Whale.
Read "The Unfilmables: A List of the Hardest Novels to Film."

As for very filmable novels....

--Marshal Zeringue