Video Versions: Film Adaptations of Plays on Video

Overview

Many of our favorite films began as plays—some as well known as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and some not so well known as You've Got Mail's origin, a 1937 play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo. Video Versions identifies nearly 300 films and their theatrical origins, providing readers with an overview of the films and highlighting similarities and differences to the source plays. Perfect for teachers, students, and anyone interested in theater and film, it is the most complete ...

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Overview

Many of our favorite films began as plays—some as well known as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and some not so well known as You've Got Mail's origin, a 1937 play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo. Video Versions identifies nearly 300 films and their theatrical origins, providing readers with an overview of the films and highlighting similarities and differences to the source plays. Perfect for teachers, students, and anyone interested in theater and film, it is the most complete resource available for video versions of plays.

Each entry provides: the original play's title, author, and year of publication; the name of the film, year of production, director and adapter; the main cast and the characters they play; running time and rating if available. Following a plot summary, a critical analysis provides the similarities and differences of the play and film, including character and plot changes, setting, missing or added scenes, special film techniques, and behind-the-scenes information such as who turned down or lost particular parts when the play was adapted to film. A short list of sources for further reading follows each entry. Information about contacting distributors—for obtaining the films—is included in the introduction and an extensive index completes the volume.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Appropriately proving that everything old is new again, this comprehensive reference identifies film adaptations of well-known and lesser-known plays. Editors Erskine and Welsh begin with a thoughtful introduction that discusses the many adaptations and interpretations of William Shakespeare's plays, which seem to be the plays most reinvented. The editors then consider the phenomena of recycling plays into movies and the similar recycling that creates plays based on popular films. The body of the book consists of insightful reviews of the films based on plays. The text becomes even more interesting when there are several movies based on the same play. In cases such as the film Sabrina, which is based on Samuel Taylor's Sabrina Fair, the 1954 version is compared with the 1995 version starring Harrison Ford. When multiple films are compared, the review is sure to bring out the strengths and weakness of each version, determining which is the most faithful to the original play. Geared toward classic plays and movies that are the most likely to be taught in school, the movies selected have applicable value in today's society. Unless a young adult is a film buff, this title will not be read for pleasure. As a teaching tool, however, it is an excellent way to show students that films such as Meet Joe Black are not original creations but works from the past. Index. Source Notes. 2000, Greenwood, 440p. PLB $59.50. Ages 15 to 18. Reviewer: Nicole Cook

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
YA-Even though this is not a comprehensive listing of plays that have been transformed into film and then video, it is an invaluable resource. The adaptations are arranged alphabetically by title, with a page-length paragraph devoted to each one. This is followed by the name of the author, the adapter, cast members, and the length of the film. When available, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating is given, followed by a brief description of the play and where it was first staged. The second part of the abstract is devoted to a description of the motion-picture adaptation, including if and how it deviates from the original. Generally there is also a discussion of the characters in the film and the roles they play. The brief listing of where the film or video can be obtained will be invaluable to teens who may never have a chance to see a live theater production. As discussed in the introduction, there are issues about "recycling drama from stage to screen and from screen to stage," but the transformation from one medium to another can have a beneficial as well as a detrimental effect. The fact that most of the titles in the book are available in major video stores across the country is of significant importance.-John Kiefman, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313301858
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 440
  • Lexile: 1310L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS L. ERSKINE is Professor of English at Salisbury State University, Maryland, and founding editor of Literature/Film Quarterly.

JAMES M. WELSH is Professor of English at Salisbury State University, Maryland, and Editor-In-Chief of Literature/Film Quarterly and the founding President of the Literature/Film Association. Most recent books are The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film (1998) and The Cinema of Tony Richardson (1999)

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Drama into Film

The Films

Index

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