The Art of Screen Adaptation
By Neil Sinyard
Routledge – 1986 – 204 pages
This is a comprehensive survey of the relationship between film and literature. It looks at the cinematic adaptations of such literary masters as Shakespeare, Henry James, Joseph Conrad and D.H. Lawrence, and considers the contribution to the cinema made by important literary figures as Harold Pinter, James Agree and Graham Greene. Elsewhere, the book draws intriguing analogies between certain literary and film artists, such as Dickens and Chaplin, Ford and Twain, and suggests that such analogies can throw fresh light on the subjects under review. Another chapter considers the film genre of the bio-pic, the numerous cinematic attempts to render in concrete terms the complexities of the literary life, whether the writer be Proust, Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Dashiel Hammett, Agatha Christie or Boris Pasternak.
Originally published in 1986, this is a book to appeal to any reader with an interest in film or literature, and is of especial value to those involved in the teaching or study of either subject.
'This is surely a model of what a work of film analysis should be; clear, concise, illuminating, almost wholly free of the woolly theorizing and pseudo-profundities that so often render such studies almost unreadable. A large number of 'films of the book' are discussed in relation to their originals, the authors covered ranging from Shakespeare to L.P. Hartley…The whole book is stimulating, shot through with some splendidly pithy comments, essential reading for anyone seriously interested in either film or literature.'
Ivan Butler, Film Review annual, 1987-8
Introduction 1. ‘In My Mind’s Eye’: Shakespeare on the Screen 2. Historian of Fine Consciences: Henry James and the Cinema 3. Another Fine Mess: D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy on Film 4. Age of Doublethink: George Orwell and the Cinema 5. Pinter’s Go-Between 6. The Camera Eye of James Agee 7. Kindred Spirits: Analogies between the Film and Literary Artist 8. Adaptation as Criticism: Four Films 9. Bio-Pics: The Literary Life on Film 10. Film and Theatre