Case in point: Come 2015, we’ll be getting a new version of the Thomas Hardy classic Far from the Madding Crowd … despite the fact that an excellent, definitive one already exists: the gorgeous, beautifully scored 1967 iteration directed by John Schlesinger and starring Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Alan Bates and Peter Finch.
Why do we need yet another film based on this book? Surely there are other masterpieces the filmmaking world can lean on instead?
There are, and I’d like to propose a few. So far as I know, big-budget, mainstream movies haven’t made out of them … yet. I’d like to see some, though. And I think others would, too.
So without further ado, here are a number of novel (groan) suggestions that the industry should take note of … and hasn’t already, to my knowledge. Bear in mind that these books aren’t all two centuries old; I think the word “classic” can apply easily to any of them. They’re very, very good. And they’d make very, very good motion pictures, in my opinion – if given the chance.
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
Who doesn’t love sexy humour? Hollywood certainly does. You’ll get lots of it in this picaresque tale by Laurence Sterne, which ends with a bedroom romp. I don’t know why no one’s picked this book out yet. Someone should be able to adapt it well for the screen.
Anthony Trollope always seems to get short shrift when it comes to the celluloid arena, especially in comparison to his much more famous contemporary Charles Dickens. But Trollope was very popular in the day, and this sharp, smart book by the master novelist shows why. It’s been adapted for TV in the past. Why not make it into a movie?
Ralph Ellison’s vivid, often-disturbing tale of a black man’s search for identity is great literature and should be made into a motion picture. Does Hollywood think a film of this novel would be too controversial? Difficult books by challenging authors have been set to celluloid before. What about this one?
The Crying of Lot 49
Hollywood nowadays may be in a Thomas Pynchon frame of mind, what with an adaptation of Inherent Vice (2014) coming to the fore. The Crying of Lot 49, by the same author, may be more rewarding from an accessibility standpoint, with a plot circulating around sinister stamps, rock music and a lot of satiric jibes at American culture. This would be a fun pick. Maybe next time?
What are your literary choices? Hollywood, if you’re listening, hear us out!