The Muse Remains The Same…

Dudley Andrew takes us a little bit further beyond the realm of early film theory.  Andrews, in his essay entitled “The Well Worn Muse: Adaptation in Film History and Theory”.  There is quote from this text that I find to be intriguing: “The making of a film out of an earlier text is virtually as old as machinery of cinema itself” (10).  He goes on to mention that roughly half of all films have come from some already existing literary source, something that seems even more prevalent in 2012.  Further more, I believe that an adaptation is essentially something derived from something that already exists and as such, there is some level of adaptation in every single story we tell, regardless of format, so in essence, it’s safe to say that the practice practice of film making as a whole is a form of adaptation.

If we can accept this idea that essentially all films are adaptations, we must ask ourselves if this notion cheapens or strengthens the tradition of film?  Andrew mentions that the films which came from literary sources were “by no means… revered or respected” (10).  I find this to be true in this day and age, where we’re so jaded by practically every remake, every sequel and every film based on a literary source.  Andrew argues that we need to reexamine how we view film adaptations as a whole, stating that we should not “fight battles over the essence of media or the inviolability of individual art works” (16).  It seems like he is saying that we shouldn’t frown upon the idea of film adaptation but we should allow each film adaptation to stand on it’s own legs, so to speak.  I agree with Andrew’s statement; we shouldn’t condemn the film for not being as good as the book because the book came first.  However, just because we shouldn’t judge something by the bench mark that is it’s source material, it doesn’t mean that we can stop.  Or can we?  I’ll take Andrew’s approach and try to look at things on a case-by-case basis…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in 06 Andrew Chatman. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Muse Remains The Same…

  1. The idea of the “tradition of film” is interesting–it seems again like we need to see film as a tradition, with history, values, prestige, etc. in order to find it valuable (unlike, say, television commercials). But haing to be defensive like that might always doom films to be seen as lesser.

Comments are closed.