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Literature and Cinema - Movie Review Example

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The discursive rendering of a novel with lights, camera, and action taking over from dialogues, background descriptions and narration, not to mention the colossal difference in the budget involved makes for Stam's line of thinking on why novel and its film adaptation are apart.
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Literature and Cinema

Download file to see previous pages... Bremer is not expressive about the writer's style, setting and structure in a novel; and the extent of its application to its film adaptation. In this regard, Bremer quotes Bluestone's Novels Into Films, (According to Bluestone, literature and film are autonomous forms of artistic expression, one communicating with written words, the other with visual images. Along these lines, Bluestone suggests that when the filmist undertakes the adaptation of a novel, he does not convert the novel at all. What he adapts is a kind of paraphrase of the novel, p18). Bremer is satisfied implying that Stam's reason about fidelity is more of the nature of that element in the novel which may not be successful in its film adaptation.
A film may be adapted in its totality - chapter to chapter, paragraph to paragraph, summarized, edited and cut down or stretched to the required length of time directly from a novel and transported to the cinemas. This transposition from one medium to another hardly justifies either medium. Quoting Robert B. Ray and Dudley Andrew, J. D. Connors in his article, The Persistence of Fidelity, says, "The problem with fidelity is that it makes for boring criticism."2 In this case, fidelity is a non-issue. The main issue or issues may have more to do with success and less to do with fidelity to the original text. According to Rose Mary Bremer, "In an attempt to increase the probability that a film will be successful, i.e. recover and exceed the initial investment, the industry has turned more and more to the backing of adaptations based on popular contemporary novels and literary classics."3
In his article, From Word to Word-Image: Film Translation of a "Sketchy" Chinese Short Story: Spring Silkworm, Literature Film Quarterly, 2005 Wang, Yiman, mentions, "The moralistic discourse to which Stam refers prioritizes the question of fidelity involved in translating one medium (the verbal fiction) into another (the visual film). One way to counterbalance this moralistic approach is to stipulate qualitative differences between literature and film as two distinct media." Also, in the same vein, Wang goes on to quote
Fredric Jameson using the "Bordwell-Hansen hypothesis." This hypothesis suggests, "whenever other media appear within film, their deeper function is to set off and demonstrate the latter's ontological primacy" (Jameson 84)." And, "The "ontological primacy" of cinema is closely related to its visuality, or the commonly recognized cinema-specific properties." 4
In essence, in order to be successful, a film requires cinema-specific visual translations of the core substance of the source novel. The cinema-specific properties depend on selection of the main characters, side actors, stuntmen, and cameraman, location, screen play, costume, music, the element of emotion and suspense, and so on.

Literal Fidelity
Two film adaptations of The Maltese Falcon in 1931 and 1936 did not measure up to the success of the novel. In the words of Huston, "the previous screenwriters had kept trying to 'lick the book,' instead of filming the book."5
The third version directed by John Huston turned out to be a runaway success. Interestingly, fidelity to the original script coupled with brilliant photograpy and background music, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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