This essay is a great summary of what we have read thus far! I also enjoyed his kind of flippant commentary on the short comings of film adaptation criticism.
As in the Chatman reading, McFarlane takes a formalistic approach to his criticism noting the signifying process, codes, the novels linearity and the films spatiality. My question is, why does this discussion seem to further drive the mediums apart? Rather than a this versus that discussion, could we not elevate the value of film adaptation by showing that formalist criticism applies as thoroughly to film as it does to literature?
When McFarlane discusses the “gradual accretion of information” in the novel and differentiates it from the “frame-following-frame” viewing of the film, I begin to disagree. Maybe it is that I do not understand. (28) Why is there opposition to this specific, what I see as, similarity? I may have commented on this last week too. We can read novels word by word, re reading and reconsidering, and we can watch movies frame by frame, dissecting and analyzing. Think of that exciting novel that you cannot put down, that you read in one night. Are you going to digest all of the minute details in that first read? Of course not. A first viewing of a film is similar. If you love a film and are intrigued by it, you will reconsider it.
Also when he says, “the novels reliance on the written representation of language codes has been a key element in accounting for the fuzzy impressionism of so much writing about adaptation,” (29) he suggests that there is an inherent limit to language codes. A limit not of concern for film which has several sensory/signifying codes, such as “non-linguistic sound codes.” I am not sure I agree here either. While the novels rely solely on linguistics, that code is immensely more trans formative and influential than say an audible musical code which is singular in its noise and whose interpretation is also limited. Again, why does this approach separate the two mediums?
Lastly, I was pleased to see such candid remarks regarding fidelity to source. While I feel there is a lot of value in psychological/emotional integrity, I enjoyed the disposal of fidelity’s overall importance.