Andre Bazin’s “Adaptation, or the Cinema as Digest” adds fuel to the fire that is argument whether the adapted is always better than the adaptation or vice versa. He makes a case for film adaptations as he claims that adapting a difficult to grasp, more cultured novel to film makes it more accessible to the masses, stating that the “up-and-coming civilization” often says to “grab whatever we can” in reference to attaining some form of culture. (22). He mentions how understanding a form of high art provides a feeling of culture, also stating that with modern technology, culture can be offered to what he refers to as the lowest common denominator, thus creating some form of overall progress.
So essentially, even though the film adaptation of the novel provides a more accessible version of the novel, it’s still inferior because it’s the only way “the lowest common denominator” will become exposed to culture, as if films are to decaf as novels are to regular coffee? Ultimately, this is Bazin saying that the anterior is superior. He alludes to this at the beginning of the text: “A novel is a unique synthesis whose molecular equilibrium is automatically effected when you tamper with it’s form.” One might think in response: well, yeah, obviously. If you attempt to change the form of ANYTHING, you will ultimately “effect” it in some way. But if you take into account what he mentions earlier about “the lowest common denominator” being given a more accessible form of “culture”, Bazin’s statement at the opening of the text seems a bit more like he’s taking the side of the anterior.
Overall, is the adapted truly superior to the adaptation? Or is it the other way around? Or are they simply two forms of telling the same story? I know these are loaded questions, but I believe the answers will be quite subjective and broad, depending on who you ask.