I've seen only three movies that, in my view, did an excellent job of "realizing" the books, and all three won "Best Picture" Oscars. (Like that means anything.)
The Godfather, Parts I & II, did a good job. The book had more stuff in it-- of course-- but I'm sure that Mario Puzo writing for the movie versions really, really helped. Also, great effort was made to make the settings look like the settings in the book. That counts, a lot, because reading is such a visualization thing.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest did a great job, too, even though the truth that the real protagonist, in the story, is the Chief is difficult to convey (especially since he plays mute most of the way through) when the central character is not only the most dynamic but also played by a guy like Nicholson, who, whether you like him or not, is rather arresting to the viewer.
I'm sure that it was a challenge, and-- it just so happens that a high school teacher had assigned the book to us, not long before the film was released (he probably knew,) so it was very, very fresh in my mind-- Milos Forman & Co. carried it off. The scene where the Chief manages to tear that thing out from the floor and shove it through the window was masterfully shot and was maybe even more powerful than in the book. In any case, it completes the nursery rhyme which is in the front of the book: One flew east (Billy Bibbitt, castrating himself on the toilet and bleeding out,) One flew west (McMurphy, lobotomized into oblivion and mercifully put down by the Chief,) One flew over the cuckoo's nest (the Chief, obviously.)
As for The Shining-- which I have not read-- I always got the impression that the only ones who dug the movie, as did I, were the ones who had not read the book.
Also, Schindler's List did a good job of putting the book to screen.
Last edited by gullycanyon
on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Do What Thou Wilt" shall be the Whole of the Solid Block of Text.
As a ravine dweller I can confirm this.