Here is my response to Booking Through Thursday, even though it's Friday.
1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)
And, by all means, expand this to as long a list as you like. I’m notoriously awful myself at narrowing down to one favorite ANYTHING. So, feel free to list as many “good” or “bad” movie-from-books as you like. (Heaven knows that’s what I’ll be doing….)
In my opinion, the movie adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird was an excellent example of a movie that stayed loyal to the book. Also, I think the version of Persuasion made by the BBC a few years back, was good. The way it was filmed made it seem more real, since everyone wasn't prettied up.
For my worst choices, I would have to say that one of the movies that really annoyed me was Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow (and this was before I decided that I just don't like her ...). I found it difficult to believe that Jane Austen's Emma wore so much eye makeup ...
Otherwise, I tend to avoid movies that I don't think will be as good as the book. A prime example is The Scarlet Letter, with Demi Moore (or as we call her, Dummi Moore) as Hester Prynne. I didn't even bother going to see it, because, come on, Demi Moore portraying a Hawthorne character? Then I knew these people that did go to see it, and were so surprised that it was so awful. Eejits all.
I didn't read the book, but The Tim talked me into watching the TV miniseries of Stephen King's It. And I feel that it was however many hours of my life that I will never get back, and even The Tim, who had read the book, had to admit it was stupid.
Given a choice, I usually read the book first, because I like reading, and because I always enjoy getting a picture of the characters in my mind's eye, before having some Hollywood type pushed on me.
In a related vein, I do think that in the case of The Godfather, that the movie was a lot better than the book. To me it seems to be the exception that proves the rule.