Film & Stage Adaptations of Classic Novels

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927)

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941) is recognized as one of the most groundbreaking modernist authors of the twentieth century. She is perhaps most widely known for iconic novels like Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and her semi-autobiographical novel, To the Lighthouse (1927).

To the Lighthouse was Woolf’s fifth novel, and has remained one of her most highly regarded works. Inspired by recollections of her childhood summers spent on the Cornwall coast, To the Lighthouse depicts the fictional Ramsey family and their assorted house guests spending a vacation in the Hebrides, on the island of Skye.

The first part of the novel, “The Window,” finds six-year-old James Ramsey eagerly awaiting a promised trip to the nearby lighthouse, a promise not to be fulfilled until ten years later when, in the third section, “The Lighthouse,” James is nearing adulthood and many of the other characters have disappeared. 

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Can A Wrinkle in Time Ever be Successfully Filmed?

As the 60th anniversary of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (1962) approaches, with it will come a wave of nostalgia. A Wrinkle in Time follows the story of siblings, Meg and Charles Wallace, in their cosmic search to find the whereabouts of their missing father.

The story is cinematic in all ways possible; however, it has already had two unsuccessful attempts at being brought to the big screen. Why have both of these films flopped? Can A Wrinkle in Time ever be successfully filmed?

I vividly remember the first time I read this novel. I was in eighth grade, and I reveled in its whimsical details. A Wrinkle in Time is a complex novel that has resonated with generations of readers. Read More→


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Film Adaptations of 17 Classic Children’s Novels by Women Authors

It’s fun and fascinating to watch film adaptations of classic children’s novels. Does the cast of characters match how you imagined them while reading? Is the film true to the book, or does it depart too much?

It’s a good idea to read a book first before seeing a film adaptation. That way, the cinematic visuals and actors don’t interfere with your imagination. Who can ever read the Harry Potter books again without picturing Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and the rest of the actors in the film series?

Film and television adaptations can be helpful for kids who aren’t big on reading. In those cases, having them watch the movie first might be a way to get them more excited about reading the book it’s based on. Then, comparing the film and written versions might spark lively discussions. Read More→


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Babette’s Feast: The 1958 Short Story by Isak Dinesen, and the 1987 film

It may be fair to say that the acclaimed 1987 film, Babette’s Feast, is better known than the short story by Danish author Isak Dinesen upon which it’s based. In fact, it’s possible that fans of the movie aren’t aware that it’s based on Dinesen’s story, nor even anything about her.

Isak Dinesen (1885 – 1962) was the nom de plume of this writer, best known for her 1937 memoir Out of Africa, which details her life as the owner of a coffee plantation in colonial Kenya.

Born Karen Christenze Dinesen into a family of aristocrats, merchants, and landed gentry, she was later known after marriage as Karen von Blixen-Finecke. The marriage conferred on her the title of Baroness, but didn’t last. Her ex-husband’s philandering left her with the lifelong effects of syphilis. Read More→


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The 1994 Film Adaptation of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s Timeless Classic

Little Women, the beloved 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888), follows the lives of the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The 1994 film adaptation of Little Women highlighted the coming of age of strong-willed, tomboyish Jo, who was as much of its standout character as she was in the novel. 

With a screenplay by Robin Swicord, and directed by Gillian Armstrong (also the director of the wonderful 1979 film version of My Brilliant Career), this was the fifth feature film adaptation of Alcott’s classic Little Women. It followed silent versions released in 1917 and 1918; director George Cukor’s 1933 film; and a 1949 adaptation by Mervyn LeRoy. The film was released nationwide on Christmas Day of 1994 by Columbia Pictures.

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