How well does film convey material from classic literature? Can film be used to introduce a book and draw people into reading or does it stall the imagination, even inoculate against digging into the original text? Any classroom or personal experience(s) to share?
What brings the question to mind? The recent release of the trailer for Tim Burton giving a stab at Alice in Wonderland (2010) with Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice). With my 9 year old twins, I’d be Mad as a Hatter to introduce Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with this rendering of the classic tale,* but if I was a college professor hoping to stir interest in literature? Hmm. …
*I’m not text only, I confess to enjoying a conversation regarding the value of John Tenniel’s illustrations 😉
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
As a kid growing up, I heavily resisted all things girly, including Jane Austen’s novels, despite the fact that I loved to read. I probably would still have not read Austen’s novels if I hadn’t been suckered into watching the BBC 5 hour version of Pride and Prejudice, which I fell in love with and still re-watch regularly. I promptly went out and bought a copy, and started reading everything of Austen’s I could get my hands on.
Tom Grosh says
Thank-you for the testimony PRT! Yes, many BBC offerings are phenomenal and do invite the viewer to read the stories through a helpful, creative lens, i.e., one not shaped by a ‘must read for class’ or because you’re a …
Although I enjoy “The Silver Chair” (is it b/c I’m also a fan of Tom Baker’s “Dr. Who”?), I’m pleased to have read the Narnia Chronicles before seeing them on BBC/PBS or the theatre [and I’ve chosen likewise for my girls. Thankfully they have not revolted]. Maybe Burton’s “Alice” is a good intro/teaser for students older than my 4th grade twins, none-the-less I would hope it sends viewers back to the original series.
Confession: by-in-large, the “PBS Mystery Series” has taken the place of reading the books which they’ve featured. Although I have picked up several P.D. James books after watching BBC’s “Death in Holy Orders.” Excellent material in text and made for TV series.