Adaptations- literature on screen? or just cinema?

“What, we might ask, is literature on screen? If it is on screen, is it still literature? If it is literature, how can it be cinema as well? And why would anyone want to claim that it is both?‘ it’s vital that literature and film be distinguished from literature on film ’ and acknowledge that ‘ the latter, the subject of this book, has historically privileged the literary over the cinematic’.”

When keeping these questions in mind, I began to think about, (sadly) Breaking Dawn Part 2. I won’t give away details from the movie, for those who haven’t seen it yet, but it remained true to the book until the ending. Now for me, I actually preferred this. It was interesting to read the final ending in novel, and see a different ending (better) in the film. The author of the novel Stephenie Meyer was at the filming of the movie, and had great expectations for the ending, the new way it was created.

When I watch adaptations as viewer, do I point at the screen and scream it’s not exactly like the novel? My answer is of course not. Just as a painting and sculptures of two exact same people are constructed differently, we must to look at these two different works of art with a different lens. It was this article that made me look at adaptations as a form of art. Is it true that we can conclude that pretty much everything we see in art form is some sort of adaptation? Is it just literature on the screen, or is it just cinema?

Posted in 12 Leitch | Comments Off on Adaptations- literature on screen? or just cinema?

Thomas Leitch — Fallacies

Are literary texts verbal, while films are visual?

Hmm…I ask this question, because from the beginning of the semester I’ve heard comments from classmates making this distinction. It seemed plausible at the time of hearing, but I always felt unsure about the plausibility of this assertion.

Leitch, in a very simple turn, says this isn’t true. In a general sense he seems to primarily be arguing against the essentialism produced from fallacies such as literary texts are verbal and films visual or novels are better than film. Hmmm…literary texts are verbal, but I’ve never thought they were ever just verbal — or maybe not ever verbal at all. When reading, most people don’t read aloud, which is what I would consider verbal, instead they read in their minds. Is that still verbal? I would says no. Hmmm…But isn’t reading also visual? In that, instead of the images being given to us via a film, we produce our own images from the words we read in our own mind. But even for film — we can say that we are given an image — but even that image is individualized. No? Is it possible that each audience member sees something slightly different, even if they have a general consensus about the film.

Leitch says that films since the silent movie era are not visual. Because of the simple explanation that they are audio-visual, depending on both the audio and visual to engage the audience. To take a step back: aren’t silent movies both visual and literary? The audience has to read and there are images and then they connect those images — the images with the words. What about films with subtitles? Do they function the same way as silent films, except with the added audio component? You have images, sound, but you still have to read? But because of the reading, you don’t get all of the images. The primary mode of understanding comes from text and music.

Leitch points out that even contemporary films have a certain element of literature. When we watch a movie based on a play we wait for the scene with the speeches which are iconic.

Posted in 12 Leitch | 1 Comment

You are all wrong

I can’t exactly remember whose post it was, but the post pointed out that Leitch is basically saying that everyone and everything that we have read is wrong.

In “Twelve Fallacies”, Leitch makes the note that adaptation studies is founded on a single fallacy: that there is is no such thing as contemporary adaptation theory. Why would Leitch believe this? And is he falling into the very trap that he sets out for other theorists?

Considering that “Twelve Fallacies” is a very recent article. Thus, Leitch arguably can comfortably fit into the category of “Post Modern”. Thus, his argument that there is no such thing as a contemporary adaption theory would make sense with a post-modernist reading.  Leitch argues that even though there is increased attention on the relationship between film and text, there has been so significant theoretical work done. Yet, he cites many authors and theorists that we ourselves have read. Is he implying that people such as Elliot, Griffith, etc. cannot be considered respected theorists because the claims they made about adaptation are wrong? Leitch seems to be cherry-picking what he wants to prove that there has been no substantial research done in adaptation studies. While I agree that more can be done, contemporary adaptation theory does exists. Contemporary becomes the key word that I believe Leitch is not paying attention to. Contemporary implies current–separated from the past. Irregardless of how much theory there is in adaptation studies, contemporary views and research is obviously different from what it was originally thought.

Hopefully this rant makes sense. It just seems too presumptuous for Leitch to assume that there is no contemporary adaption theory. It is lacking, but it does exist. Yet, I do agree with many of his other points in the article. Like Elliot, he seems to be implicitly trying to push for the legitimacy of adaptation studies.

Posted in 12 Leitch | Comments Off on You are all wrong

Leitch and His Many Questions

Since I am doing my presentation on Leitch my post wont be as long as normal because I don’t want to  give all of my ideas away! In his article Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads, he asks: “is literature on screen?” “if it is on screen, is it literature?” Seems to be a bit broad but I think it is important to think about with our studies of adaptation in class. When I think about these questions I wonder, how can literature physically be on screen? I assume he doesn’t mean a physicality of literature because that is just not possible! I think he means the spirit of the piece of literature and the spirit that we have talked about in class; the true core of the piece of literature and its use in an adaptation. He says that adaptation theorists are stuck with the notion that adaptation has to be faithful to its original source texts. He says that this is what is ‘haunting’ the field and that a lot of adaptations use secondary sources as well but these are completely ignored. He says. “Beneath this contradictory notion of film adaptation as not merely hybrid texts but texts holding dual citizenship in two modes of presentation is an even more pervasive legacy that haunts adaptation studies : the assumption that the primary context within which adaptations are to be studied is literature”( Leitch 64). So my question is: Do we focus on adaptation strictly in the context of the primary literary source? How come we forget the other sources that may contribute to the adaptation? And does this mean that all of the adaptation theorists we have read thus far are stuck with this same perception?


Posted in 12 Leitch, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In which Leitch tears every theorist we read this semester a new one…

If modern adaptation studies are at a crossroads as they allegedly retain an “unhelpful emphasis on the notions of essentialism originality, and cinematic equivalents to literary techniques” (168), how can this be alleviated moving forward?

After exploring to the problematic nature of modern adaptation studies in his aptly titled essay,  “Adaptation at a Crossroads”, Thomas Leitch seemingly proposes a solution through his “Twelve Fallacies of Contemporary Adaptation Theory”.  The root of his argument seems to indicate that adaptation studies in the present day are largely antiquated, alluding to dated tropes of adaptation studies like “fidelity is the most appropriate criterion in analyzing adaptations” (161) and “source texts are more original than adaptations” (162).  On top of that, he defends the art of filmmaking as separate but equally creative and innovative medium; something that he believes adaptation critics neglect to do for the sake of praising the anterior simply for being first (the novel).

I largely agree with Leitch with regard to how adaptation criticism (whether it’s from a scholar or a fan on an Internet message board) is rooted in the championing of fidelity to the anterior and the tarnishing of everything that comes after it.  In fact, I more or less agree with his argument on the whole.  Even if the spirit of fidelity is removed from the narrow field of adaptation studies, we’re still mired in the comparing of literary apples to cinematic oranges.  However, I find that Leitch seems to take a wait-and-see approach at the end of his “Twelve Fallacies” after tearing apart these myths about what must go into adaptation studies.  He alludes to this idea of adaptation criticism morphing into an all-encompassing field he calls “Textual Studies”, but he seems to imply that there needs to be some sense of an armistice between film studies and literary studies as adaptation studies often put films and literature in conflict with one another.  Ultimately, I find that Leitch is correct in his assertion that adaptation criticism is at a crossroads and he does well to pin point the problems, but he doesn’t provide a lot in terms of a solution beyond removing the divide between the two mediums and putting their study under one umbrella.

Posted in 12 Leitch, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The problem of Textual Studies

What would Textual Studies contribute? How would such a branch operate? Is it possible, even desirable?

In “Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads,” Leitch asserts that criticism based on fidelity and contextual concerns “are unlikely to play a leading role in advancing adaptation studies as it struggles to emerge from the disciplinary umbrella of film studies and the still more tenacious grip of literary studies” [emphasis added] (68). Leitch seems to suggest that the study of adaptations is in the process of separating, or at least ought to separate, from film and literature theory and departments, the de facto curators of adaptations. Such a claim seems to divorce adaptation studies from its very roots where, by definition, film and literature have their due share – where then does that leave adaptations?

Leitch answers this in his conclusion to “Twelve Fallacies in Contemporary Adaptation Studies” by suggesting a new branch of study called “Textual Studies – a discipline incorporating adaptation studies, cinema studies in general, and literary studies, now housed in departments of English, and much of cultural studies as well” (168). While I agree with the more “omnivorous” approach to adaptations, I find it unlikely that such a field will emerge because what Leitch is essentially calling for is a revolution in the way we and the institutions through which we are always-already subjects think. “Institutional battles can be resolved in the same ways they arose, by changing the way the institution does business” (168). Changing that business would mean dismantling the academic institution to its very core.

Intertextuality and intermedia studies are exactly where adaptation studies need to be, especially given Leitch’s explosively broad definition of adaptation (with which I agree, for the record), but it is not currently possible because the institution is designed in such a way as to hinder, if not outright prohibit, such interdisciplinary cross-breeding. The liminal nature of adaptations at the crossroads of not just film and literature but all artistic mediums challenges the very institution in which it appears, an institution dependent on its rigid internal structure and theoretical definitions. The hybrid nature of adaptations needs a broader approach that the institution as it exists today cannot provide because the “will to taxonomize” has found no greater champion than academic institutions. After all, the humanities were not originally divorced from the sciences, and Textual Studies must consider, among so many other things, technology: its history, operation, influence on art/media, etc. What Leitch calls for is reconciliation between disciplines, perhaps even all disciplines. But is that possible, desirable even?

Again, though I agree with Leitch, perhaps he is swinging the pendulum too far, dissolving boundaries without due consideration for their replacement. Given his broadened redefinition of adaptation, one that could easily account for all art and media, how much is too much? If everything is in fact a copy without an original (the specter of Benjamin haunts my posts), if all texts are intertexts and intertexts can be all-inclusive in themselves and by definition – a painting and a piece of music could be texts – where does the hall of mirrors end? Should it end? And if it doesn’t end, how can we then establish a new discipline? In other words, how can we establish Textual Studies as a discipline when it is predicated on the notion of collapsing definitions and disciplines themselves? Is Leitch really calling for institutions to create a new branch of study, to authorize an inherently heterogeneous field with unstable boundaries both internal and external, or is he suggesting something more radical?

Posted in 12 Leitch | 3 Comments

The unwilling spirit

Sorry for the late post on Elliott. Storms thrusting me out of our 21st century comforts led to a lack of power and internet and ultimately illness.  Then the holiday arrived and wrangling the bird and people and expectations propelled me further off track.  Anyway:

What are the effects of an adaptation on an unwilling spirit?  Elliott describes critical references to “the spirit of the text” as the psychic concept of adaptation (136) and uses many references to mysticism, the soul, and death to get her point across.  The spirit of a text can, in modern criticism, be boiled down to authorial intent: “Twentieth-century critics tend to represent this authorial spirit in less mystical ways: the authorial soul or personality becomes authorial intent, imagination or style” (136).  She goes on to reference a process by which the spirit of a text transfers from author to novel to reader/filmmaker to film to viewer.  Not directly stated is the process by which the author’s intent becomes spirit, but it is alluded to in her discussion of Wuthering Heights–someone must die for their spirit to be released.

For the most part it seems as if adaptations are made from the texts of long dead authors;  Brontë wasn’t around for any of the adaptations of Wuthering Heights.  This allows for others to easily interpolate (their) meanings into that of the original author’s, as Elliott states:  “[P]sychic ghosting of what passes between novel and film in adaptation inevitably allows a host of personal, filmic, and cultural agendas to be projected onto the novel and identified as its spirit” (139).  That the author’s spirit is good, that it provides a blessing over the film adaptation, is important in that it creates a sense of legitimacy as it ties the text to the adaptation.  However as Elliot points out, deciphering the intent of a dead author is left in the hands of literary critics, or those who’ve gained a degree of scholarly or cultural cache (such as Kenneth Branagh (142)) and so the interpolation is not only allowed but expected.

Elliott does quote Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting (also an actor in its film adaptation) but he seems to fully accept that his role as authority over his text ends or is lessened by adaptation (139) and so for all intents he has gone gently into that good night.     What about those, still kicking, authors who rage rage against the dying of the light?  Alan Moore, author of many adapted works such as V for Vendetta and Watchmen maintains that adaptations are evil.  While Elliott refers to spirits, Moore’s criticism of adaptations lies in more concrete (yet still disturbing) realm.  In 2008 when talking about the (then) upcoming Watchmen film he refers to modern film as a “bully” that “spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination.  It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms.”  He has maintained that his text is unfilmable, so presumably an adaptation would be besides the point or better yet- besides his point.    I don’t mean to imply that authorial intent provides the sole/proper reading of a text, but WB’s blatant disregard of Moore’s wishes display a degree of violence.  Driven by consumerism, the movie studio has in a sense killed the author, freeing his spirit so that it may be used according to their wishes:  In Moore’s view he is the worm being digested and regurgitated.  Unlike in Elliot’s essay, the protestations of this living author more clearly demonstrate that, at least in film adaptations, the power of capital is crucial in establishing how authorial spirit is read and presented to others.

Posted in 11 Elliott | Comments Off on The unwilling spirit

Shaping the Direction of Adaptations

Could the current theoretical aversion to fidelity discourse encourage filmmakers to shy away from attempting “literal,” or at least “close,” adaptations of sourcetexts?

In Leitch’s “Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads,” he makes a striking comment about Cahir’s Literature into Film: Theory and Practical Approaches. He asserts that her “rubric establishes traditional adaptation as a norm from which literal and radical adaptations depart at their peril” (71). Despite the fact that Leitch points out how the will to taxonomize should not be accompanied with value judgments, he unwittingly appears to do the same thing in “Twelve Fallacies of Contemporary Film Adaptation.” This is best indicated by his use of the phrase “servile transcriptions” (161). The connotations of the word “servile,” compounded with his discussion on the faults of employing fidelity as a criterion for the evaluation of adaptation, encourages one to conclude that he is equally against attempts to transcribe or transfer sourcetexts from book to screen. To him, it is impossible to for a film adaptation to compare to a source, so why bother?

Though these are just the views of two contemporary theorists, it seems possible that this disparagement of “literal” or “close” adaptations could spread to adapters themselves. Reviewers may subscribe to these opinions and similarly encourage filmmakers away from such. Furthermore, as is noted by Ray, some theorists, like Eisenstein, employ their films as vehicles for upholding their vision of film/ adaptation theory. If filmmakers ascribe to contemporary views on fidelity, their work may reflect this.

One could also say that theory and practice are entirely different animals. It is known that there is a demand for adaptations, and fidelity discourse continues to dominate discussions despite contemporary theorists’ eschewal of such. Filmmakers create their works with an eye to the marketability of their products, in a given society, with reference to a particular time. If there is a demand for “literal” or “close” adaptations, film theorists will not be able to prevent filmmakers from creating works that aspire to meet this demand.

Posted in 12 Leitch | 2 Comments

Picking a Film, Part 2

Vote for one of these four categories, which are all “From Non-Novel (Comic and Game).” The next and final round will be for a specific film. Keep in mind we’ll want to look at a bit of the original text, so I’ve linked each title to an image of (at least one of) the original source(s).

Title (Director, year, length in min., metascore out of 100, netflix: “S”treaming or “D”isc)

(Bonus points if you can guess which of these I think is the best.)

Vote here:

Continue reading

Posted in Prof. Ferguson | 11 Comments

Are film adaptations inextricably linked to the text from which they are adapted?

(Apologies – this is the most unacceptably late blog post ever. Having just gotten power this past weekend, things have been hectic, and things slipped through the cracks. I hope the intellectual wanking [plus a bit of outside research – yay] below makes up for it, even if just a little bit.)

While reading the passage about music being the “transcendental signifier,” I couldn’t help but do a bit of research on my own. While the definition of signifier and signified is simple, there’s a lot of dense, nebulous concepts surrounding it, like the whole idea of music being the transcendent signifier because its abstract form is resisting the signified, whatever that means. Well I wanted to know what that meant, hence me looking all this stuff up.

My Google quest lead to this link:

Here’s a quick excerpt (this isn’t about transcendental signifiers, but it is within a larger text that deals with that concept): “Derrida criticizes Saussure for saying that the purpose for which writing exists is to represent speech.”

That reminded me of the Burgess quote in the essay, which says that books were made to be movies. The site goes on to talk about how Saussure’s theory of language is criticized because writing doesn’t have to necessarily be phonetic, and therefore isn’t inextricably linked to speech.

Are film adaptations inextricably linked to the text from which they are adapted? There is a “language of film” which takes a life of its own in films. Filmic techniques that aren’t in the book, but are used to represent the spirit of the book. Are those akin to the non-phonetic language that cannot be transmuted from writing to speech? I’m totally fascinated by the idea of filmic language, or the language of various mediums in general, so the idea of thinking this in terms of written word and speech feels appropriate.

Elliott says, “The incarnational concept of adaptation represents the novel’s signs as transcendental signifiers, wandering ghosts located neither in the heaven of the transcendental signified of the psychic concept nor in the dead corpse of the empty signifier of the ventriloquist concept. In the context of adaptation, the transcendental signifier seeks not a signified, but another signifier that can incarnate it.”

If the transcendental signified is the universal concept, than the signifier is that which allows us to understand that concept. Here, the idea of “transcendental signifier” is something that seeks to be incarnated within other signifiers. So it fits that Burgess quote about words whetting the appetite for “the true fulfillment.”

If speech is merely looking to be incarnated as word, then word is looking to be incarnated into the visual language of film. But if we accept Derrida’s criticism above, what parallels the non-phonetic writing? What, in film, transcends this whole business of signifiers being incarnated? Are movies fully realizing the books signifiers? Or are movies taking on more than the signifiers – the signified. The book is made up of signifiers, and that’s absolute. You can’t really debate about a signifier, since it’s tangible. But beneath the book’s pages is an interminable and highly interpretive world of the signified, and I think that’s the non-phonetic language that films is picking up on.

Posted in 11 Elliott | 1 Comment

Adaptation Has Been the Bad Boy of Interart Criticism…

Kamilla Elliott (133): “Adaptation has been the bad boy of interart criticism” . . . because:

1) it blurs categorizations of the arts

2) commits two central heresies:

  • it suggests that words and images may be translatable after all.
  • it suggests that form separates from content.

“Six mostly unofficial concepts of adaptation that split form from content in various ways to account for the process of adaptation. . . . They overlap as frequently as they conflict and are by no means presented here as ideal, prescriptive, or even empirically ‘true,’ but rather as concepts operative in practice and criticism, where novel/film rivalries bristle in the cracks . . . between form and content” (135).

The Psychic Concept (136)
  • understands what passes from book to film as “the spirit of the text”
  • “spirit of the text” commonly equated with the spirit or personality of the author, or with “authorial intent,” or “authorial style”
  • does not simply advance an infusion of filmic form with authorial literary spirit: it posits a process of psychic connection in which the spirit of a text passes from author to novel to reader-filmmaker to film to viewer
  • The Novel’s Spirit –> (The Novel’s Form) –> (Reader-Filmmaker Response) –> (Film) –> Viewer Response
The Ventriloquist Concept (143)
  • differs from Psychic Concept in that it pays no lip service to authorial spirit: rather, it blatantly empties out the novel’s signs and fills them with filmic spirits
  • The Novel’s Signs – The Novel’s Signifieds = The Novel’s Signifiers
  • the adaptation here is a composite of novel and film, rather than pure film
  • while the ventriloquist concept appears diametrically opposed to the psychic view, its idea of residual meaning lingering in s0-called empty forms does not differ essentially from the idea that a spirit passes from a novel to a film in adaptation
  • both concepts grapple with the idea that meaning is a “nebulous spirit” that can enter and leave forms. (inseparable sides of the same coin)
The Genetic Concept (150)
  • the genetic concept is well established in narratological approaches
  • narratologists figure what transfers between literature and film as an underlying “deep” narrative structure akin to genetic structure, awaiting Chatman’s “manifesting substance” in much the same way that genetic material awaits manifesting substance in the cells and tissues of the body
  • narratological approaches thus allow a separation of form and content at the higher categorical level of narrative (a category that contains both novels and films) while precluding heretical form and content splits at the basic level of categorization (level of individual signs)
The De(Re)composing Concept (157)
  • under the de(re)composing concept of adaptation, novel and film decompose, merge, and form a new composition at “underground” levels of reading
  • the adaptation is a composite of textual and filmic sings merging in audience consciousness together with other cultural narratives and often leads to confusion as to which is novel and which is film
  • many so-called “unfaithful” adaptations are operating under a de(re)composing model
  • but if one reads in both directions one often finds the alleged infidelities clearly in the text
The Incarnational Concept (161)
  • predicated on the Christian theology of the word made flesh, wherein the word is only a partial expression of a more total representation that requires incarnation for its fulfillment
  • the incarnational concept of adaptation differs from the psychic view in that it does not posit the novel as a transcendental signified to which the film must attach appropriate signifiers, but rather as a transcendental signifier 
  • the incarnational concept of adaptation maintains that the word seeks incarnation as ardently as it is sought by incarnating forms
  • just as psychic and ventriloquist concepts of adaptation represent two sides of the same coin, so too do genetic and incarnational concepts
The Trumping Concept (173)
  • addresses which medium represents better
  • under the trumping concept, the novel’s signs lose representational authority in the name of a signified that the novel “meant to” or “tried to” or “should have” represented
  • splits the novel’s form from its content to assert that the one has betrayed the other: that the novel’s signifiers have been false to and have betrayed their own signifieds, their own heart
  • many adaptations faulted as faithless are, in fact, engaging in trumping activities–in outrepresenting rather in misrepresenting the novels they adapt

Posted in 11 Elliott, Prof. Ferguson | Comments Off on Adaptation Has Been the Bad Boy of Interart Criticism…

Elliot, perhaps jumping to conclusions?

Kamilla Elliot certainly has a lot of ideas on adaptation, but I think she stretches the facts and draws conclusions at times that, while helpful to her theories, are not necessarily based in fact. For example, in the section on the Psychic Concept, she says that the inclusion of an Emily Bronte character in Peter Kosmninsky’s film version of Wuthering Heights “touts the film as more comprehensive of the novel’s origins than the novel itself.” While I agree with the second half of her statement (that including the author is an attempt at “authenticating ” the film, imbuing it with a bit of historical gravitas so that it will be taken more seriously) I think Elliot comes off as judgmental and not very objective in accusing the director of trying to pretend that he knows more about the book than the author herself. I might be a bit critical, however, because I feel like Elliot in general is taking some liberties and stretching things a bit in using Wuthering Heights as an allegory for the struggle between film/literature critics and film adaptations.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’m kind of left wondering what was going on in the section on ventriloquism (something I know Dana has already touched on). Once again, Elliot seems maybe a bit judgmental in her rather harsh description of what adaptation does: “The adaptation, like a ventriloquist, props up the dead novel, throwing its voice onto the silent corpse.” I mean, goodness. First of all, ventriloquists generally use dummies, not corpses, so way to use a creepy analogy unnecessarily, Elliot. (This is, again, one of those times when she stretches the analogy between Wuthering Heights and adaptation to its breaking point- Heathcliff digging up his dead lover because he finds it impossible to move on/believe she is really gone is not quite the same as a director choosing to adapt a novel into a film, even if that director is doing so for less than admirable purposes or in a less than faithful manner.) Secondly, I was, admittedly, having a bit of trouble following the ventriloquist conversation because those pesky diagrams tend to confuse me more than they help me.

Posted in 11 Elliott | 4 Comments

Twilight Zone: Ventriloquist in the Genetic Concept or in the Ventriloquist concept?

-Initially I was thinking that my example followed the genetic concept, however, I feel am unclear as to what the Ventriloquist concept really means. In the initial explanation Elliot writes, “it pays no lip service to authorial spirit: rather, it blatantly empties out the novel’s signs and fills them with filmic spirits…Heathcliff abondones Cathy’s corpse to pursue her ghost”(143) Can the ghost not resemble the body?

-What does it mean to empty out and refill? Can the film adaptation result still hold some “resemblance” to the initial text?

In the genetic concept of adaptation, Elliott continues to use Wuthering Heights and suggests that an adaptation can hold a resemblance to the original text, however be different in a number of ways. In referencing McFarlane and the ability to transfer, he cites, “novel and film can share the same story, the same ‘raw materials’, McFarlaine argues, but are distinguished by means of different plot strategies” (150). Elliot continues and states that a separation occurs between content (what is told) and form (how it is told), and that “McFarlaine rightly observes that even when signs transfer intact from novel to film (as when lines of dialogue transfer directly), they are ‘deformed’ by the catalysts that surround them”(151). It seems that in cases where elements of both form and content appear to be transferred from novel to film, other elements involved in the film-making process (catalysts) get in the way- and a full transfer with both content and form is never possible. This speaks back to the constant argument of fidelity. The frustration that readers feel when viewing an adaptation that goes off in a new direction, seems to be inevitable according to Mcfarlaine and Elliott. It appears that even when content and form comes together, the catalysts will never allow for an exact replica- so anyone expecting one will indeed be disappointed, and should not expect this result.

In thinking about the separation between a narrative form and content, for some reason the Chuckie films came to mind (Child’s Play ,etc.) Personally, I absolutely hate scary movies, but have been forced to watch a few over the years. Although Child’s Play/other Chuckie films are not clearly adaptations- Probably because the section before the genetic concept discusses the ventriloquist concept – I thought of two creepy Twilight Zone episodes Talking Tina and The Dummy, which both use a doll and dummy respectively to wreck havoc on the humans around them (in the twilight zone).  Talking Tina says things like “I want to kill you” in a nice doll voice to the father of her owner and the ventriloquist dummy is shown to eventually take over the act- becoming the performer and the performer becoming the dummy. They seem to both follow a similar concept in different ways. It seems like the Chuckie movies evoke both the content (what is told) through the talking doll scenario trying to kill in each scenario, as well as, form (how it is told) by giving a new plot and narrative.

In reexamining the Ventriloquist concept, I am not sure if my examples still fit. Can a ghost not resemble the once living body? The equation of this concept is The Novel’s Signifiers + The Film’s Signifieds=The Adaptation’s Signs. Is this happening in the Twilight Zone/Chuckie comparison?

For some reason I can’t make them into links  sorry [edit: I fixed it for you. -klf]

Talking Tina Clip

The Dummy Clip

Child’s Play Trailer

Posted in 11 Elliott | 3 Comments