4 Books That Should Never Be Adapted For The Screen

The Great Gatsby With Baz Luhrmann€™s take on The Great Gatsby arriving in theaters to less than stellar reviews (including mine), it seems like as good a time as ever to consider whether some books should simply stay on the page and off the big screen. The age-old saying when it comes to film adaptations of beloved novels is that €œit wasn€™t as good as the book.€ While this may be true in most cases, we€™ve certainly seen some novels turned movies over the past few years that did their source material justice, even if they seemed un-filmmable at first (127 Hours, Life of Pi). But just because a book could be adapted, it doesn€™t mean that it should be adapted. Luhrmann€™s messy Great Gatsby is a perfect example. The story is straightforward; there€™s nothing about the film that seems too extravagant or impossible to film. And yet, watching it we€™re acutely aware of the fact that while Fitzgerald€™s prose is dazzling on the page, the transition to screen is awkward at best. Some books have something special that just can€™t be moved, whether it€™s in their structure, their depth, or simply the quality of their writing. And so here are four books that I truly hope will never be given the big screen treatment:

4. The Sound And The Fury - William Faulkner (1929)

the sound and fury Technically, The Sound and the Fury has already been made into a film, in 1959. But that film hardly resembles the novel at all, and truthfully, how could it? Faulkner€™s novel is built around four separate sections, each written in a particular character€™s stream of consciousness. These sections also jump around through time, and while taken together they come together to create a portrait of a family€™s inability to adapt in the post-war South, it€™s hard to imagine a film adaptation keeping the soul of Faulkner€™s novel intact. It€™s hard enough to film one character€™s stream of consciousness without making it seem overdone; filming four has disaster written all over it. Even if someone did tackle the project and film it in distinct sections, like the novel, the first two sections (Benjy and Quentin€™s) jump back and forth between the present, the past, and unreliable memories so often that it€™d be almost impossible to present them in any rational, understandable way to an audience. The Sound and the Fury is a masterpiece of American literature; let€™s just leave it as is.

David Braga lives in Boston, MA, where he watches movies, football, and enjoys a healthy amount of beer. It's a tough life, but someone has to live it.