A BOOK IS NOT A MOVIE—FRANKLY I HAVE ALWAYS REGARDED THAT AS SELF EVIDENT
One of the commonest statements made about movies adapted from books is: “The book was better.”
It’s a reaction that irritates me greatly. I have always thought that you have to judge each medium on its own terms—and not compare them. They are different experiences.
A good example of this is CATCH-22. The book is a work of genius—though contains passages I found quite boring. In contrast, the movie is consistently entertaining but doesn’t—and shouldn’t—contain all the complexity of the book.
Which is the better? It’s not a helpful question.
Having cut and re-written extensively, I’m currently reaching the stage where I’m asking: What can I do in the movie that couldn’t be done in the book—and will it help the movie?
I’m not sure I’ll find the answers, but I’m confident I’m asking the right questions.