Adaptation Theory In Modern Film

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The practice of adapting is central to the storytelling imagination. Adaptation theory, the systematic study of films and television based on literary sources, is one of the oldest areas in film and television studies. Although the study of literary adaptations on film and TV is becoming more common and more acceptable as a feature, it is still surrounded by knee-jerk prejudice about the skills such study affords, its impact on the value and the place of the literary ‘original’ and the kind of critical approach it demands. Apart from analytical work of narratological perspectives, auteur theory and genre, there is little that unites the study of visual and written narratives in academic work – even though there are clearly shared processes…show more content…
Alan Spiegel concludes Fiction and the Camera Eye: Visual Consciousness in Film and the Modern Novel (1976) speculating on the future of the novel in the age of film: ‘’the contemporary novel at its most advanced now consorts with the coldness and passivity of the photographic plate. Just s photography seemed to release painting from its representational functions, so perhaps the film was always meant to appropriate the mimetic tradition in literature itself free to’’ (Spiegel, 1976). It has been lamented that some novels are written not just as novels, but as future films. For example, Harry Potter. It has been argued that the experience of reading the books is akin to watching a film (Cartmell and Whelehan, 2010); Harry’s control of the gaze through the emphasis on his glasses, the influence of the blockbuster, especially the obligatory action sequences, and the intertextual references to Star Wars, in first volume, call attention to the ways in which Hollywood has shaped popular fiction. While the first film, albeit successful, disappointed its audience due to its excess and lack of fidelity. The last two films seem more independent of the books while reinforcing the books’ cinematic qualities. For instance, the influence of the road movie genre, implicit in the novel, is made explicit on screen in penultimate installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Rowling’s translation of Hollywood genre to fiction may be part of her recipe for popular and financial success and it has been observed that cinema’s financial lure is too much for some novelists to resist, with the contemporary novel reduces to a first draft of a
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