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Old 08-23-2019, 11:22 AM
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In which a remake, or new version, is better than the original


This idea could take many forms, book version to movie version, original to remake movie, and so on.

What got me started thinking was listening to Simon and Garfunkle's "Richard Cory". It was based on a poem by Edward Robinson. I've read the poem, and heard the music, and I think the song is better, more poignant at least. Both tell the same story of a seemingly happy and rich man who ends by shooting himself. But Simon and Garfunkle put a twist in by having the singer not get the point that Cory was sad inside, the singer still wants to be what he thought Cory was.

As to films, anyone actually read the book Jaws by Peter Benchley? An ordinary thriller, with the usual obligatory sex scene(Hooper and Mrs. Brody) Spielberg changed the plot and the characters(kept the shark though!) and made one of the best horror films ever, along with injections of humor and incredible suspense.

What are some other examples you can think of?
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:33 AM
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Scarlatti wrote keyboard works for primarily for the harpsichord. As did others of his time, including J.S. Bach. I appreciate them on period instruments. But the difference between that and the modern piano is immeasurable in terms of pretty much everything that makes them such a joy to discover and hear. I hope this is not too general and fits the OP.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:42 AM
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IMHO, The Hunt for Red October. John McTiernan and the screenwriters did a great job tightening up Clancy's tediousness.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 08-23-2019 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:43 AM
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I remember liking the newer Oceans 11 and The Thomas Crown Affair more then the originals.
ETA, if we're counting books to movies, the movie version of Fight Club was considerably better than the book (IIRC, even Chuck Palahniuk said that).
Same goes for Transpotting. I believe it was that book that I wouldn't have been able to follow if I hadn't already seen the movie a handful of times.

Last edited by Joey P; 08-23-2019 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Fiddle Peghead View Post
Scarlatti wrote keyboard works for primarily for the harpsichord. As did others of his time, including J.S. Bach. I appreciate them on period instruments. But the difference between that and the modern piano is immeasurable in terms of pretty much everything that makes them such a joy to discover and hear. I hope this is not too general and fits the OP.

This is fine, and not a medium I would have thought of, but welcome to be included.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:48 AM
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The Spy Who Loved Me. Ian Fleming himself described the book as "a failed experiment."

The 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon (the one with Humphrey Bogart)was the third time that book had been filmed. Some people think that the 1931 version, with Ricardo Cortez, was better. I don't, although the first version is worth seeing.

The Wizard of Oz had been filmed about a dozen times before the Judy Garland classic.

Try to find a copy of the novelization of The Wicker Man. I won't say it's better than the movie, but it gives you more insight into the characters. (I am, of course, referring to the original movie, not the remake.)

I have not read the novelization of Zardoz, but I have heard it claimed that it makes more sense than the movie. (Which, admittedly, is a pretty low bar. )
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:48 AM
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Happens more with music. also happens with Books to Movies like your example of Jaws.

Books to movies:
Jaws
Jurassic Park
The Godfather to The Godfather & The Godfather part II
Gump

Songs:
America, Yes's version improved greatly on S&G
All along the Watchtower: Jimi Hendrix owns this Dylan song.
Mr. Tambourine Man: The Byrds over Bob Dylan.
Respect: Aretha Franklin > Otis Redding original
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll : Joan Jett's cover > can't remember the name of the original
Tainted Love: Soft Cell > original
Dazed and Confused: Zeppelin > Old Blues Guy ( I think)
New York, New York: Frank Sinatra over Liza
Walk Like an Egyptian: Bangles over obscure 50s novelty group
A Hazy Shade of Winter: Bangles over Simon & Garfunkel

TV Show from movies:
MASH
Odd Couple
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:52 AM
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I'll give you the books. I disagree on most of the songs and TV show/movies.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:55 AM
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I know I'll get bashed for saying this, but I think the Coen Brothers' version of True Grit is arguably better than the 1969 Henry Hathaway film.

But they're both very good westerns.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:12 PM
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Late 70s/early 80s did some good remakes of 1950s movies. I think 'The Thing' and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' greatly improved on the 1950s versions.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:26 PM
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Here's one for native German speakers to put me right on.

Death In Venice by Thomas Mann is real tough sledding. The best thing about it is that it's a short story and not a novel. (Disclaimer: I read it in English translation - the views of a native German speaker on the original would be interesting).

Death in Venice by Luchino Visconti is a cinematic masterpiece.

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Old 08-23-2019, 12:40 PM
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Little Shop of Horrors (movie, 1986) > Little Shop of Horrors (movie, 1960)
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
This idea could take many forms, book version to movie version, original to remake movie, and so on.

What got me started thinking was listening to Simon and Garfunkle's "Richard Cory". It was based on a poem by Edward Robinson. I've read the poem, and heard the music, and I think the song is better, more poignant at least. Both tell the same story of a seemingly happy and rich man who ends by shooting himself. But Simon and Garfunkle put a twist in by having the singer not get the point that Cory was sad inside, the singer still wants to be what he thought Cory was.


Not a remake, but might be of interest:

If you're into Richard Corey, playwright A.R. Gurney (best known for Love Letters) wrote a play about him, in which he explores why he committed suicide. Who Killed Richard Corey? came out in the mid-1970s.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:46 PM
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But Simon and Garfunkle put a twist in by having the singer not get the point that Cory was sad inside, the singer still wants to be what he thought Cory was.
My interpretation is that the singer is well aware that Richard Cory was sad but still considers it better to be a dead guy with half a lifetime of luxury than a live guy with a full lifetime of crushing poverty.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:48 PM
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Battlestar Galactica
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:51 PM
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There have been lots of versions of famous books and plays, and it's not clear to me when they should be called "remakes'.


There were silent versions of Melville's Moby Dick, and version made since, but I still think the best was the John Huston/Ray Bradbury version.

Similarly, there have been LOTS of versions of Dr. Jeckyll and Mister Hyde (including several silent versions), but the Reuben Mamoulian/Fredric March version is the best.

For all its flaws, the Ray Harryhausen version of Jules Verne's Mysterious Island is still better than the 1929 semi-silent version.

I think Disney's version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was better than its predecessors (including the amazing 1916 version, shot underwater in the same location)

the Daniel Craig version of the Bond film Casino Royale is easily better than the TV version or the 1960s "Love In" version
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:05 PM
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The Wizard of Oz had been filmed about a dozen times before the Judy Garland classic.
I've seen the (a ?) silent version. It was awwwwwful.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:05 PM
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Not sure if Fury Road counts as a remake or new version but its far superior to any of the original Road Warrior movies.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is much better than Ralph Bakshi's carton version (and the Rankin-Bass Return of the King)

Merian C. Cooper's She is much better than the silent versions that preceded it.

For my money, there is no "best" version of Dracula or Frankenstein. But some versions are better than others. And some versions, otherwise not great, contain excellent parts.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:38 PM
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Ocean's 11 is significantly better.

And I'd argue that Brendan Fraser's The Mummy is the superior version.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:43 PM
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Pit me if you must, but the film Battlefield Earth was an improvement on the book of the same name. I'm not saying it was good, mind you, just gooder.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:46 PM
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Song: Hurt by Johnny Cash. Not even a contest. Even Trent Reznor admits it.

Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original with Gene Wilder. We do not speak of the second one). The book by Roald Dahl was amazing, don't get me wrong, but the movie was nearly perfect.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:51 PM
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I've seen the (a ?) silent version. It was awwwwwful.
There are several silent "Wizard of Oz" flicks, notably a collection shorts made by L. Frank Baum's own company, and the Larry Semon version that features Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy) as The Tin Woodsman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapta...e_Wizard_of_Oz
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:52 PM
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Song: Hurt by Johnny Cash. Not even a contest. Even Trent Reznor admits it.
Good one. And while we're at it, In My Life by JC as well.

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Old 08-23-2019, 02:06 PM
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Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is much better than Ralph Bakshi's carton version (and the Rankin-Bass Return of the King)
It's better than the books, too.



(d&r)
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:14 PM
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As someone who almost always prefers the Asian original over the American remake (Infernal Affairs >> The Departed; any number of comedies, horrors, etc.), I will readily admit that the American remake of The Ring is better than the original Japanese Ringu.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:22 PM
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Does Star Wars count as a remake of The Hidden Fortress?
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:30 PM
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Does Star Wars count as a remake of The Hidden Fortress?
I'd go with "inspired by."
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:48 PM
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Ocean's 11 is significantly better.

And I'd argue that Brendan Fraser's The Mummy is the superior version.
I'll agree about Ocean's 11.

The Stephen Sommers/Brendan Fraser version of The Mummy is a lot more fun to watch, I'll grant you. and you can even say it's "inspired by" the 1932 Boris Karloff film, but I hesitate to say it's "better". I'll still watch the old Universal classic.
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  #30  
Old 08-23-2019, 03:11 PM
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I'm rather fond of the Hammer version of The Mummy, with the caveat that it is not a remake of the Boris Karloff film, but rather the Tom Tyler/Lon Chaney Jr. series.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:49 PM
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the television series, was far better than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:19 PM
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Happens more with music. also happens with Books to Movies like your example of Jaws.

Books to movies:
Jaws
Jurassic Park
The Godfather to The Godfather & The Godfather part II
Gump
About the ones making the Godfather movies: Mario Puzo was already a writer of novels, but he had no experience on screenwriting, however he was given the task to make the screenplays of his books:

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/70149...s-ford-coppola
Quote:
PUZO: Yeah, I mean, it was a cinch because it was the first time I'd ever written a screenplay, so I didn't know what I was doing. You know, it's - and it came out right. And the story I tell is that after I had won two Academy Awards, you know, for the first two "Godfathers," I went out and bought a book on screenwriting because I figured I'd better learn...

GROSS: (Laughter).

PUZO: ...You know, what it's about because it was sort of off the top of my head. And then the first chapter - the book said, "study "Godfather I." It's the model of a screenplay". So I was stuck with the book.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 08-23-2019 at 05:19 PM.
  #33  
Old 08-23-2019, 08:23 PM
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The Mr. Belvedere TV show was much better than the Mr. Belvedere movies.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:38 PM
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Late 70s/early 80s did some good remakes of 1950s movies. I think 'The Thing' and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' greatly improved on the 1950s versions.
Yes. And no.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:35 PM
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I'd say the David Cronenberg directed 1986 version of The Fly with Jeff Goldblum is better than 1958 version with Vincent Price.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:41 PM
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I'd think Captain America: The First Avenger was better than the 1991 movie Captain America.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:47 PM
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Song (in a reversal from above):
The Sound of Silence - Disturbed's version is better than the Simon & Garfunkel original.

And another vote for Ocean's Eleven. "They say taupe is very soothing." is an oft-heard phrase in the Zakalwe household.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:18 PM
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I agree on Ocean's Eleven.

I also prefer William Friedkin's Sorcerer (1977) to the French original Le Salaire de la peur (1953). The story is about four men who are down on their luck (really, really down on their luck) and living in a small, Central America village. 200 miles away an oil well has caught on fire, and the only way to put it out is with dynamite. Unfortunately, the dynamite has been improperly stored and the nitroglycerin has seeped out and become very unstable. The four men are hired to drive the explosives in two trucks through the jungle to the burning well. They will be well paid, if they survive.

The difference between the two films is a good study in when, and where, they were made. The original is rather existential. I don't remember any backstory to explain how the men came to such desperate circumstances. The suspense sequences are shown more on the faces of the drivers than on what's happening with the trucks and cargo. And when the end comes, it's just a cruel trick of fate.

Action/suspense movies had changed a lot by the '70s. We see how the characters got to the point where a suicide mission was an attractive alternative. We see the trucks on crumbling mountain roads and rope bridges. And the end isn't a surprise. Oh, and there's a kickass soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:45 PM
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Twelve covers better than the original (to my taste of course):

Carpenters - This masquerade (Leon Russell)
Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
kd lang - After the goldrush (Neil Young)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded by the light (Bruce Springsteen)
Matthews Southern Comfort - Woodstock (Joni Mitchell)
Natalie Imbruglia - Torn (Ednaswap)
Peter Gabriel - Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)
Roxy Music - Jealous guy (John Lennon)
Steven Wilson - The guitar lesson (Momus)
Sinead O'Connor - Nothing compares 2U (The Family)
This Mortal Coil - Song to the siren (Tim Buckley)
Tori Amos - Time (Tom Waits)
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:23 AM
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"A Scandal in Bohemia" has been adapted to the screen several times. The Jeremy Brett version in 1984 beat all its predecessors, and Benedict Cumberbatch's freewheeling Sherlock adaptation beat even that.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:14 AM
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Ester Ofarim - Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:47 AM
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The film of The Princess Bride was a wonderful romp - full of quotable lines.

The book was just boring.
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Old 08-24-2019, 06:49 AM
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I agree with Jaws.

Although I liked the novel, I thought the original movie version of The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three was much better than the book.

I think Frankenstein, the 1931 movie, is damn near infinitely superior to the book.

mbh: I have read the novelization of The Wicker Man. I thought it was the novel upon which the movie was based. It was excellent. I like the original movie so much I refuse to watch the remake.

Last edited by The_Peyote_Coyote; 08-24-2019 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 08-24-2019, 07:23 AM
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The film To Have and Have Not is a vast improvement on Hemingway's book. But, hey, Ernie didn't have Lauren Bacall.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:03 AM
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The Camel album The Snow Goose is better than the Paul Gallico novella that inspired it.
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  #46  
Old 08-24-2019, 09:03 AM
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I know I'll get bashed for saying this, but I think the Coen Brothers' version of True Grit is arguably better than the 1969 Henry Hathaway film.

But they're both very good westerns.
I have no idea if it's better, because for me, the Coen True Grit was the perfect cinema experience, so good that I'm loath to see the original. Yeah, I've heard it's good, but I'd go into it with such sky-high expectations that it could only disappoint. I read the novel and had just that experience.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:46 AM
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I have read the novelization of The Wicker Man. I thought it was the novel upon which the movie was based.
Quote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wicker_Man_(novel)

The Wicker Man is a 1978 horror novel written by Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer. It was based on the 1973 cult horror film The Wicker Man, directed by Hardy and written by Shaffer. The novel includes a foreword by Allan Brown. The film itself is loosely based on the novel Ritual by the actor and novelist David Pinner.

The novelisation was written primarily by Robin Hardy, the director of the film, but Anthony Shaffer is credited as co-author, as Hardy re-used much of Shaffer's dialogue verbatim. Hardy has said that he began writing the novel before Shaffer had even finished the screenplay.
One can argue over the best cinematic Zorro (I am partial to Tyrone Power. The Alain Delon version was pretty cheesy, but it had a fun theme song.), but I think most of them are better than the book. In the book, Zorro wears a purple cape, and a mask which covers his entire face. McCulley does not say what type of sombrero the hero wears, but I got the impression that he was thinking of a broad-brimmed mariachi-style hat. the sombrero de Cordoba of the movies is much better for swashbuckling.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:51 AM
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Battlestar Galactica
^^^ Yep, hands down. Even with the awful final season.
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Old 08-24-2019, 12:22 PM
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Wilson Pickett owns Hey Jude.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of The Opera beats all the movies.
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:06 PM
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Pit me if you must, but the film Battlefield Earth was an improvement on the book of the same name. I'm not saying it was good, mind you, just gooder.
That is - quite possibly - the lowest bar I have even considered. But that doesn't mean I disagree....

I tried to read the book on a bet years ago - couldn't do it. Did technically make it through the movie, but I may have zoned out for large sections of the middle since a review I've read since referenced scenes I don't recall.

Still, technically-finished does beat didn't-finish. Touche. ;-)
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