Why not make a movie of your book?

From Mary Jo:

One of those questions that authors hear with some regularity is “Why don’t you make a movie out of one of your books?”

This is flattering.  It’s also pretty funny because of the implication that writers have any control over such things. (Heck, the only thing we might have control over is the content of our books, and even then….) 

The chances of a historical romance writer having any appeal to the great and insane dream factory called Hollywood are infinitesimal.  As a writer friend who lived in Beverly Hills once told me, it was more likely that she’d be struck dead by a meteor than that a movie would ever be made of one of her books—and she writes fast-moving, sexy romantic suspense, which is more likely to interest movie makers. 

Historical romance means costume drama, and costume drama costs more to make than a contemporary setting.  Usually a lot more.  So if someone wants to make a costume drama, they’ll probably pick a reliable classic with a built-in audience, which is why there are so many versions of Pride and Prejudice.  Or else they’ll add elves and make it fantasy, which is hot these days. <g>

Now and then a movie will be made from a romantic book, but usually there is a great story hook, as with Meg Cabot’s delightful The Princess Diaries.  Geeky San Francisco teen finds out she’s heiress to a small but charming European kingdom.  Great story idea, great movie, and after she becomes a princess, she has great hair.  <g>  Or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  (Not only are these good stories, but they are YAs and their young protagonists are a good choice for the movie-going demographic.)

In general, though, romance is something that takes place inside people’s minds and hearts. While it’s an element in most movies, pure romance is seldom at the center of the story.  Romantic comedy comes closest, but there’s still lots of comedy to entertain people while the relationship develops.  In thrillers, The Girl is usually the reward to The Hero for being so brave and stalwart.  Or worse, she gets killed to give The Hero an excuse for destroying six counties with his mega-weapons.  Ugh!

The movie production process is long and beyond arduous.  As with tadpoles that never live to become frogs, few ideas ever reach the silver screen.  There can be any number of reasons that stories fall by the wayside, and many great stories disappear onto studio shelves, never to be seen again.  (For a hair-raising insider view of Hollywood, you might read William Goldman’s very funny books, Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell You?  Since one of my contemporaries, The Spiral Path, is built around movie making, I got to do lots of fun research.)

Romance tends to work better on television because it’s well suited to the intimacy of the small screen.  Yet even there, with a few exceptions (two LaVyrle Spencers and one Penelope Williamson book come to mind), any romance novel turned into a tv movie is apt to be contemporary.  Cheaper, and more people can relate so modern stories.  Often the stories chosen are more women’s fiction/family drama than romance since soap opera has always been a staple of television. 

Nonetheless, having said all that—my book The China Bride has just been optioned, for the second time—by a Hollywood producer.  They first optioned the book several years ago, then allowed the option to quietly expire.  Now they’re optioning it again.

Don’t think that an oChina_bride ption usually makes an author rich!  The initial money is small, though if a movie ever got made (HIGHLY UNLIKELY) there would be a good pay-out.  Such deals are wildly complicated: with the first option, the deal memo was 10 pages, or maybe it was 16.  And that wasn’t the contract, just the deal memo.  It spelled out every conceivable variation, including theatrical film, tv movie, spin-off tv series, whatever. 

I have no expectations of this—my agent warned me when it was first optioned that Hollywood is full of elephant graveyards littered with the bones of novelists who lost their wits and careers by becoming obsessed with the dream of movies.

Not to worry, I assured her.  I’m too much of a control freak to play well with others, and movie making is a very collaborative process.  If someone wants to give me money to make a movie from one of my books, probably distorting it hideously in the process, I’ll take the money and run.  I have no desire to be part of the process, nor to chase will o’ the wisps when it’s hard enough to write novels.  (William Goldman emphasized that in Hollywood, the writer is always at the bottom of the status heap. Who need that?)

Still, selling an option is found money, and the bragging rights are considerable.  This is the only non-American set historical romance I’ve ever heard of to be optioned, and I’m pretty sure I know why there is interest: my kickass half-Chinese heroine.  With martial arts popular, Troth might make a good story. 

Do I expect anything to come of this?  No, this will just be another deceased tadpole, I think.  But the bragging rights are considerable. <G>

Mary Jo

60 thoughts on “Why not make a movie of your book?”

  1. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  2. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  3. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  4. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  5. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  6. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON? There is a wonderful scene in there in which the title character, a studio head, calls in the hot new writer from NYC (read: FSF himself) and explains exactly why his screenplay won’t work, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that film is a VISUAL medium. A course in screenwriting in one scene!
    As for having control, the late Olivia Goldsmith (who wrote THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and knew whereof she spoke) said that selling the film rights to a book was like giving a child up for adoption–you just have to let it go. In her THE BESTSELLER, one of the characters has written a charming little novel which Hollywood wants to change radically, and a friend advises her to let them change her busload of middle-aged Englishwomen into a space capsule full of orangutans if they want–just take the money and run! (Both these books are a lot of fun, and FWC is MUCH better than the movie!)

    Reply
  7. Mary Jo–
    CB would make a great movie. I do respect your groundedness, however. An author, aspiring author, half-way there author, and anyone at all, should master groundedness. Keeps me sane and cuts down on the tears.
    Having said that, I fully expect a Hollywood producer to make your movie, if he/she is smart. Heck, I would love a TV miniseries, like CROSSINGS.
    Cathy

    Reply
  8. Mary Jo–
    CB would make a great movie. I do respect your groundedness, however. An author, aspiring author, half-way there author, and anyone at all, should master groundedness. Keeps me sane and cuts down on the tears.
    Having said that, I fully expect a Hollywood producer to make your movie, if he/she is smart. Heck, I would love a TV miniseries, like CROSSINGS.
    Cathy

    Reply
  9. Mary Jo–
    CB would make a great movie. I do respect your groundedness, however. An author, aspiring author, half-way there author, and anyone at all, should master groundedness. Keeps me sane and cuts down on the tears.
    Having said that, I fully expect a Hollywood producer to make your movie, if he/she is smart. Heck, I would love a TV miniseries, like CROSSINGS.
    Cathy

    Reply
  10. Tal, I’ve not read THE LAST TYCOON, but I have read Olivia Goldsmith (I miss her books) and talked to writers who had their stories filmed. One talked about how weird it was to read the shooting script and seeing characters with the names she’d chosen, but significantly different from her story. (Hers was a TV mini-series.)
    She concluded what all smart writers do, which brings us back to “take the money and run.” 🙂 Print and film are profoundly different. A good movie-maker can translate to soul of a book to movie effectively–I thought the Lord of the Rings trilogy was brilliant–but books and movies are different beasts, with different challenges and rewards.
    Mary Jo, staying grounded 🙂

    Reply
  11. Tal, I’ve not read THE LAST TYCOON, but I have read Olivia Goldsmith (I miss her books) and talked to writers who had their stories filmed. One talked about how weird it was to read the shooting script and seeing characters with the names she’d chosen, but significantly different from her story. (Hers was a TV mini-series.)
    She concluded what all smart writers do, which brings us back to “take the money and run.” 🙂 Print and film are profoundly different. A good movie-maker can translate to soul of a book to movie effectively–I thought the Lord of the Rings trilogy was brilliant–but books and movies are different beasts, with different challenges and rewards.
    Mary Jo, staying grounded 🙂

    Reply
  12. Tal, I’ve not read THE LAST TYCOON, but I have read Olivia Goldsmith (I miss her books) and talked to writers who had their stories filmed. One talked about how weird it was to read the shooting script and seeing characters with the names she’d chosen, but significantly different from her story. (Hers was a TV mini-series.)
    She concluded what all smart writers do, which brings us back to “take the money and run.” 🙂 Print and film are profoundly different. A good movie-maker can translate to soul of a book to movie effectively–I thought the Lord of the Rings trilogy was brilliant–but books and movies are different beasts, with different challenges and rewards.
    Mary Jo, staying grounded 🙂

    Reply
  13. __
    One of those questions that authors hear with some regularity is “Why don’t you make a movie out of one of your books?”
    __
    I read that and immediately had visions of people expecting you to *personally* make the movie, hand cranking the camera with four of their closest buddies dressed up in bedsheets or something. LOL. 😉
    …or as Machima maybe. ‘The Marriage Spell’ acted out with World of Warcraft avatars, or (warning video!) Battlefield 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4396069753768297433
    or (yes video) The Sims 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8780839490163796425
    or (more video) TES:IV – Oblivion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyHiIeBsc9E
    Really, really sorry guys 🙂

    Reply
  14. __
    One of those questions that authors hear with some regularity is “Why don’t you make a movie out of one of your books?”
    __
    I read that and immediately had visions of people expecting you to *personally* make the movie, hand cranking the camera with four of their closest buddies dressed up in bedsheets or something. LOL. 😉
    …or as Machima maybe. ‘The Marriage Spell’ acted out with World of Warcraft avatars, or (warning video!) Battlefield 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4396069753768297433
    or (yes video) The Sims 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8780839490163796425
    or (more video) TES:IV – Oblivion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyHiIeBsc9E
    Really, really sorry guys 🙂

    Reply
  15. __
    One of those questions that authors hear with some regularity is “Why don’t you make a movie out of one of your books?”
    __
    I read that and immediately had visions of people expecting you to *personally* make the movie, hand cranking the camera with four of their closest buddies dressed up in bedsheets or something. LOL. 😉
    …or as Machima maybe. ‘The Marriage Spell’ acted out with World of Warcraft avatars, or (warning video!) Battlefield 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4396069753768297433
    or (yes video) The Sims 2:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8780839490163796425
    or (more video) TES:IV – Oblivion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyHiIeBsc9E
    Really, really sorry guys 🙂

    Reply
  16. My favourite film about the film industry, an object lesson in the Hollywood mindset, is The Player.
    There are many lovely romance novels by current authors I often think I’d enjoy seeing on the screen. But I well know the real thing wouldn’t be as enjoyable as the movie I see in my head as I read!
    Having worked in the film/tv industry, I’ve seen how bizarrely limited the creative imagination can be in that realm (due to the chronic bottom-line mentality.)
    IMO, original screenplays nearly always work better on screen than adaptations of books, or plays. For whatever reason.

    Reply
  17. My favourite film about the film industry, an object lesson in the Hollywood mindset, is The Player.
    There are many lovely romance novels by current authors I often think I’d enjoy seeing on the screen. But I well know the real thing wouldn’t be as enjoyable as the movie I see in my head as I read!
    Having worked in the film/tv industry, I’ve seen how bizarrely limited the creative imagination can be in that realm (due to the chronic bottom-line mentality.)
    IMO, original screenplays nearly always work better on screen than adaptations of books, or plays. For whatever reason.

    Reply
  18. My favourite film about the film industry, an object lesson in the Hollywood mindset, is The Player.
    There are many lovely romance novels by current authors I often think I’d enjoy seeing on the screen. But I well know the real thing wouldn’t be as enjoyable as the movie I see in my head as I read!
    Having worked in the film/tv industry, I’ve seen how bizarrely limited the creative imagination can be in that realm (due to the chronic bottom-line mentality.)
    IMO, original screenplays nearly always work better on screen than adaptations of books, or plays. For whatever reason.

    Reply
  19. I am always ambivalent when I hear that a book that I love is being made into a movie. On one hand, the idea of the characters springing larger than life onto the big screen is exciting, and I am pleased that a writer I value has been recognized. On the other hand, I know that the movie will never satisfy my vision of the book. The only movie I have ever seen that I thought measured up to the book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Reply
  20. I am always ambivalent when I hear that a book that I love is being made into a movie. On one hand, the idea of the characters springing larger than life onto the big screen is exciting, and I am pleased that a writer I value has been recognized. On the other hand, I know that the movie will never satisfy my vision of the book. The only movie I have ever seen that I thought measured up to the book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Reply
  21. I am always ambivalent when I hear that a book that I love is being made into a movie. On one hand, the idea of the characters springing larger than life onto the big screen is exciting, and I am pleased that a writer I value has been recognized. On the other hand, I know that the movie will never satisfy my vision of the book. The only movie I have ever seen that I thought measured up to the book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Reply
  22. From Pat Rice:
    SK, you really better be sorry! Off with their heads in dominos and scarfing and burping in Syms, and like an idiot, I’m sitting here watching the whole danged thing and grinning when I have two tons of better things to be doing!
    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that with our books? Our very own screen plays…

    Reply
  23. From Pat Rice:
    SK, you really better be sorry! Off with their heads in dominos and scarfing and burping in Syms, and like an idiot, I’m sitting here watching the whole danged thing and grinning when I have two tons of better things to be doing!
    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that with our books? Our very own screen plays…

    Reply
  24. From Pat Rice:
    SK, you really better be sorry! Off with their heads in dominos and scarfing and burping in Syms, and like an idiot, I’m sitting here watching the whole danged thing and grinning when I have two tons of better things to be doing!
    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that with our books? Our very own screen plays…

    Reply
  25. From Loretta:
    Goldman’s a favorite of mine. I mean, he wrote THE PRINCESS BRIDE. I have a quote from WHICH LIE DID I TELL posted near my monitor. Two other wonderful books about Hollywood are Julia Phillips’s YOU’LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN and John Gregory Dunne’s MONSTER: LIVING OFF THE BIG SCREEN. They were eye-openers for me.

    Reply
  26. From Loretta:
    Goldman’s a favorite of mine. I mean, he wrote THE PRINCESS BRIDE. I have a quote from WHICH LIE DID I TELL posted near my monitor. Two other wonderful books about Hollywood are Julia Phillips’s YOU’LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN and John Gregory Dunne’s MONSTER: LIVING OFF THE BIG SCREEN. They were eye-openers for me.

    Reply
  27. From Loretta:
    Goldman’s a favorite of mine. I mean, he wrote THE PRINCESS BRIDE. I have a quote from WHICH LIE DID I TELL posted near my monitor. Two other wonderful books about Hollywood are Julia Phillips’s YOU’LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN and John Gregory Dunne’s MONSTER: LIVING OFF THE BIG SCREEN. They were eye-openers for me.

    Reply
  28. I believe you, Tal–everything in cyberspace hiccups now and then!
    Thanks to all for the interesting comments and suggestions for supplemental reading–there’s lots of cool material available people who are interested.
    As to making movies from books–I invariably find that it works better for me if I see a movie and like it well enough to dig up the book rather than if I love the book and then see the movie. If I see the movie first, the book is usually a lovely expansion of the story. IF I read the book first, the movie always seems too thin.
    LOTR is something of an exception, but I read the books so long ago that all I retained was the general plotline and characters, so the movies seemed just fine.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  29. I believe you, Tal–everything in cyberspace hiccups now and then!
    Thanks to all for the interesting comments and suggestions for supplemental reading–there’s lots of cool material available people who are interested.
    As to making movies from books–I invariably find that it works better for me if I see a movie and like it well enough to dig up the book rather than if I love the book and then see the movie. If I see the movie first, the book is usually a lovely expansion of the story. IF I read the book first, the movie always seems too thin.
    LOTR is something of an exception, but I read the books so long ago that all I retained was the general plotline and characters, so the movies seemed just fine.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  30. I believe you, Tal–everything in cyberspace hiccups now and then!
    Thanks to all for the interesting comments and suggestions for supplemental reading–there’s lots of cool material available people who are interested.
    As to making movies from books–I invariably find that it works better for me if I see a movie and like it well enough to dig up the book rather than if I love the book and then see the movie. If I see the movie first, the book is usually a lovely expansion of the story. IF I read the book first, the movie always seems too thin.
    LOTR is something of an exception, but I read the books so long ago that all I retained was the general plotline and characters, so the movies seemed just fine.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  31. tal sez:
    Can you think of any movies that were BETTER than the book? All I can think of is the A&E miniseries of LORNA DOONE. I read that book when I was about 14 and adored it; tried to read it again when I was in grad school and it was like trying to chew my way through a two-by-four!

    Reply
  32. tal sez:
    Can you think of any movies that were BETTER than the book? All I can think of is the A&E miniseries of LORNA DOONE. I read that book when I was about 14 and adored it; tried to read it again when I was in grad school and it was like trying to chew my way through a two-by-four!

    Reply
  33. tal sez:
    Can you think of any movies that were BETTER than the book? All I can think of is the A&E miniseries of LORNA DOONE. I read that book when I was about 14 and adored it; tried to read it again when I was in grad school and it was like trying to chew my way through a two-by-four!

    Reply
  34. Good books are often (usually) made into bad films, but bad books can also be made into good films. There really is very little connection, because the book is the product of an individual mind, and the reader interacts directly with the author, applying her own experience and interpretation to that ‘pure’ concept. A film is the product of a large team, a committee project, that is pre-interpreted and pre-digested, as it were before the filmgoer sees it. The viewer has to take it or leave it as it is.
    I think this is far, far more important than the standard ‘verbal as opposed to visual medium’ argument. Some of us read visually, not verbally, in any case. But the book is ‘author direct to reader’, while the film is author to scriptwriter to editing committee to director and producer to actors to cameramen to sound-engineers to special-effects people, with the financial people and the sponsors… well, it isn’t author-to-viewer, that’s for sure.
    An example that comes to my mind of a film that was actually better than the book on which it was based is the original film of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, with Lawrence Harvey and Frank Sinatra. At least, I thought the film was better at the time. I haven’t either read the book or watched the film for several decades.

    Reply
  35. Good books are often (usually) made into bad films, but bad books can also be made into good films. There really is very little connection, because the book is the product of an individual mind, and the reader interacts directly with the author, applying her own experience and interpretation to that ‘pure’ concept. A film is the product of a large team, a committee project, that is pre-interpreted and pre-digested, as it were before the filmgoer sees it. The viewer has to take it or leave it as it is.
    I think this is far, far more important than the standard ‘verbal as opposed to visual medium’ argument. Some of us read visually, not verbally, in any case. But the book is ‘author direct to reader’, while the film is author to scriptwriter to editing committee to director and producer to actors to cameramen to sound-engineers to special-effects people, with the financial people and the sponsors… well, it isn’t author-to-viewer, that’s for sure.
    An example that comes to my mind of a film that was actually better than the book on which it was based is the original film of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, with Lawrence Harvey and Frank Sinatra. At least, I thought the film was better at the time. I haven’t either read the book or watched the film for several decades.

    Reply
  36. Good books are often (usually) made into bad films, but bad books can also be made into good films. There really is very little connection, because the book is the product of an individual mind, and the reader interacts directly with the author, applying her own experience and interpretation to that ‘pure’ concept. A film is the product of a large team, a committee project, that is pre-interpreted and pre-digested, as it were before the filmgoer sees it. The viewer has to take it or leave it as it is.
    I think this is far, far more important than the standard ‘verbal as opposed to visual medium’ argument. Some of us read visually, not verbally, in any case. But the book is ‘author direct to reader’, while the film is author to scriptwriter to editing committee to director and producer to actors to cameramen to sound-engineers to special-effects people, with the financial people and the sponsors… well, it isn’t author-to-viewer, that’s for sure.
    An example that comes to my mind of a film that was actually better than the book on which it was based is the original film of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, with Lawrence Harvey and Frank Sinatra. At least, I thought the film was better at the time. I haven’t either read the book or watched the film for several decades.

    Reply
  37. tal sez:
    I think the reason for LORNA DOONE being better as a miniseries is that it has a terrific STORY, which survived the transition; but the actual PROSE of the Blackmore novel is awful.
    I too think the Frank Sinatra/Laurence Harvey version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE is wonderful, but you can’t not mention the superb against-type performance of Angela Lansbury! I haven’t read the book or seen the remake of the film, but I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles.

    Reply
  38. tal sez:
    I think the reason for LORNA DOONE being better as a miniseries is that it has a terrific STORY, which survived the transition; but the actual PROSE of the Blackmore novel is awful.
    I too think the Frank Sinatra/Laurence Harvey version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE is wonderful, but you can’t not mention the superb against-type performance of Angela Lansbury! I haven’t read the book or seen the remake of the film, but I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles.

    Reply
  39. tal sez:
    I think the reason for LORNA DOONE being better as a miniseries is that it has a terrific STORY, which survived the transition; but the actual PROSE of the Blackmore novel is awful.
    I too think the Frank Sinatra/Laurence Harvey version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE is wonderful, but you can’t not mention the superb against-type performance of Angela Lansbury! I haven’t read the book or seen the remake of the film, but I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles.

    Reply
  40. Well, I didn’t mention Angela Lansbury, but yes, I agree with you, Tal. The whole film managed to make a completely insane, indeed, ludicrous, premise seem convincing – at least, at the time. This was why it was better than the book, because I found it impossible to suspend my disbelief when reading the story.
    I find it hard to imagine why anyone would even wish to remake the film, because the whole concept was so firmly based in a particular paranoid phase of history that it cannot possibly have made the transition to another and retained any kind of cohesion or integrity.

    Reply
  41. Well, I didn’t mention Angela Lansbury, but yes, I agree with you, Tal. The whole film managed to make a completely insane, indeed, ludicrous, premise seem convincing – at least, at the time. This was why it was better than the book, because I found it impossible to suspend my disbelief when reading the story.
    I find it hard to imagine why anyone would even wish to remake the film, because the whole concept was so firmly based in a particular paranoid phase of history that it cannot possibly have made the transition to another and retained any kind of cohesion or integrity.

    Reply
  42. Well, I didn’t mention Angela Lansbury, but yes, I agree with you, Tal. The whole film managed to make a completely insane, indeed, ludicrous, premise seem convincing – at least, at the time. This was why it was better than the book, because I found it impossible to suspend my disbelief when reading the story.
    I find it hard to imagine why anyone would even wish to remake the film, because the whole concept was so firmly based in a particular paranoid phase of history that it cannot possibly have made the transition to another and retained any kind of cohesion or integrity.

    Reply
  43. Tal, I LOVE Sunset Boulevard, too. It manages to be weird, touching, hard-boiled, and oddly romantic all at once — there’s so much more to it than that final “Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” line. This week it’s been on TMC twice without commercials, much to the dismay of my family….
    Mary Jo, I wish they would make China Bride into a movie. I know all the logical and logistical reasons why they won’t, but I still wish they would.

    Reply
  44. Tal, I LOVE Sunset Boulevard, too. It manages to be weird, touching, hard-boiled, and oddly romantic all at once — there’s so much more to it than that final “Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” line. This week it’s been on TMC twice without commercials, much to the dismay of my family….
    Mary Jo, I wish they would make China Bride into a movie. I know all the logical and logistical reasons why they won’t, but I still wish they would.

    Reply
  45. Tal, I LOVE Sunset Boulevard, too. It manages to be weird, touching, hard-boiled, and oddly romantic all at once — there’s so much more to it than that final “Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” line. This week it’s been on TMC twice without commercials, much to the dismay of my family….
    Mary Jo, I wish they would make China Bride into a movie. I know all the logical and logistical reasons why they won’t, but I still wish they would.

    Reply
  46. MJ i love your books and i really hope that someday A Kiss of Fate which is my favorite book does become a Hollywood movie, if not my second favorite book Stolen Magic

    Reply
  47. MJ i love your books and i really hope that someday A Kiss of Fate which is my favorite book does become a Hollywood movie, if not my second favorite book Stolen Magic

    Reply
  48. MJ i love your books and i really hope that someday A Kiss of Fate which is my favorite book does become a Hollywood movie, if not my second favorite book Stolen Magic

    Reply

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