I have currently received the cinematic production of the BBC/PBS series The Paradise. As per usual, I researched the back story of the series . . . Though it should not surprise me, it is book adaptation. However, what caught my attention was the author was none other than Emile Zola, the French Nobel writer. What is more, The Paradise is actually the eleventh title in the original French series! How very “George Lucas” of BBC to start in the middle like that.
A former student once lamented the atrocity of page to screen adaptations and “almost always the book is better than the movie.” Of course, as a Librarian, this thrills me. However, to play the devil’s advocate, a large percent of cinema goers have not read the book in question (or perhaps may not even know the screenplay was originally from a novel, in the first place). Those people are coming to view the spectacle with no preconceived notions, as many readers are. Also, as another person once, put it “certain formats lend themselves better to certain stories.” I whole heartedly agree. In my view, while some book adaptations do amazing justice to the novel, many fall flat. On the other hand, original screenplays written specifically with the visual format in mind, tend to be superb! (Obviously, not ALL original are swell, just as original novels.)
Many people, myself included, prefer to read the written version first before viewing the visual, for a bit of compare and contrast. Although, I have a friend, who challenges that perspective by seeing the cinematic format first for the “summary” and later reads the book for fleshing out and elaboration. This way, she claims, she can enjoy both formats without being terribly jaded.