• Book to Movie to Book

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 4 comments

    Great GatsbyThe WBN brain trust is debating whether to watch the new adaptation of The Great Gatsby: I’m curious to see what old Baz has done with it, and it can’t be any worse than the 1974 mess of a production. (Can it?) Even if it does stink, the film won’t affect my appreciation for the novel.

    What makes me hesitant (besides the concession stand prices) is that I’m really not in any kind of mood or position to reread the book. And I know that if we were to see the film, I would have to pull Fitzgerald off the shelf and give him another whirl.

    Last year we saw the (godawful) remake of Jane Eyre, and even though I didn’t want to, I reread the book shortly after. Because I felt compelled to. And because I had the time. At present, though, my desk is close to buckling under the weight of the books I need to read, and I can’t afford to put them all on pause to reread Gatsby, short as it is.

    Do any of you have this same tic, the need to read or reread a book immediately after seeing a film adaptation of it?

    What do you think of the new film? Did it make you reread the book? Any fresh insights?

    For a fun blast from the past, check out “The Book Wasn’t Better,” in which one of our writers discusses a few films which outshined the books they were based on.


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    Carrie Winters

    Will not see it. Won’t. It’s one of my favorite books, and my rule is to never watch an adaptation of a favorite book.

    Leah Kaminsky

    That’s how I feel, too. It’s been hard enough hearing reporters butcher the last line of the book, which is so personally formative to me as a writer. Plus, I’m concerned there won’t be enough irony and critique of wealth, just a full embracing of it. But of course, can’t say because I haven’t seen it, just have a lot of trepidation.

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Who’s butchering the last line?! Seriously. Tell me. We’ll have words.

    David Duhr

    Couple of responses from Facebook: Ray: “I usually feel compelled to reread a book BEFORE I see the film. Because I want my imagining of the book to be fresh enough and strong enough to resist being completely replaced by the movie version.” Amanda: “Ditto to what Ray said about rereading a book. As for the new Gatsby film, I actually thought Baz Luhrman, for the most part, did a great job with the film. I feel like a 21st century viewer who has never read the book could really get a grasp for the general flavor of it and… Read more »

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