Every once in awhile when a wonderful novel is adapted to a movie, the punditry gaggle and their snobbish fellow travelers resurrect the ridiculous canard that opines that only bad novels make good movies. A recent article in the New York Times by a novelist Joseph O’Neill cited Phillip Roth’s The Human Stain, Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day and John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick as prime example of this phenomena.
Oddly, he then cites The Witches of Eastwick as a disposable movie of a disposable novel. He apparently didn’t like the novel either.
As near as I can interpret Mr. O’Neill’s turgid article with its overuse of superlatives and dismissals, a common media disease, the movies referenced are also The Godfather, which he calls as “too bad a novel to be trampled to death by Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather.” On the other hand, he praises Apocalypse Now as “the greatest twinning of novel and film.” Note the word “greatest.” He goes on to say that Conrad’s Novella Heart of Darkness on which it is based contains “some of the best prose ever produced in English.” Best ever, my God.…
Read more: The Book-to-Movie Enigma