I’d love to hear your picks in the comments. But first: Which classic novels do you suppose have been most frequently adapted for the screen?
If we factor in riffs as well as faithful adaptations, I would guesstimate Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. And of course, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus. One of the saddest novels in the history of humanity has been adapted over a dozen times, the first in 1910.
And the adaptations just keep coming: A new one, called Victor Frankenstein and starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, hits theaters on November 25. It appears to be a horror-action-buddy comedy mash-up (so, so tempted to make a punny, monster-made-from-leftover-parts joke here).
The official trailer was released today (Does Daniel Radcliffe’s hair make anyone else think of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein?):
Generally speaking, I like seeing classic novels being made into films. For one, they hopefully inspire viewers to read the originals, or thumb through them, or even just be aware of their existence. And I don’t mean that last bit as a sly jibe. Classic novels reveal the needs, desires, and struggles that define what it means to be human. We won’t all connect with the originals in the same way we do with contemporary iterations, but we can still marvel at the relevance of books written one or two hundred years ago.
As a book lover, I’m sometimes frustrated by film adaptations*, by elements I might feel stray too far from a book’s central themes or ideas. But when I think of film adaptations as elaborate, multi-media interpretations, it can be fascinating to engage with and discuss them.
I have many questions: Thoughts on this trailer? On classic novels being adapted into films? On film adaptations generally?
*Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby drove me to distraction.