The popular and spreaded belief that a book is always better than its audiovisual version is for me, at least, an unfortunate comparison.
Since the very language of each source is totally different and is transformed in the film adaptation both in time, in the level of details, and in the vision itself, since the book precisely its possibility of being an imaginary, makes each reader have his own mental representation of the scene.
But debating whether the letter is better than the image, or whether the fidelity of the work is accepted, I think it is most questionable, due to the fact that the cinema will always offer us another type of experience.
Many would also agree with me that some directors and screenwriters have surprised us with great films that take their story from a book, even surpassing the “sacred word”.
Interestingly, these films manage to arouse their curiosity in some spectators as much as to incite them to read the book.
I cite some case without any doubt to be wrong:
– “The Shining” by Stephen King, adapted by Stanley Kubrick.
– “Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh, where Danny Boyle achieves it with a tape with Ewan McGregor.
– “Dune” by Frank Herbert, adapted by David Lynch.
– Robert Bloch’s novel “Psycho”, a masterpiece of cinema, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
– “The Godfather”, “The Wizard of Oz”…
Without clearly ignoring that great films are based on a great book, such as:
– “Blade Runner”, based on the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, written by Phillip K. Dick.
– “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris.
– “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
– “Noah’s Diary” by Nicholas Sparks.
– “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar.
Which reminds me of the joke about the rats that, in a film library, were nibbling on a movie; one of them asks: Did you like the movie? To which another responds: I liked the book better.