3. Last year's hit series The Night Manager, starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, which I have just been notified is waiting for me at my library, based on the book by John le Carré.
And for those who have already seen all of the above, or who are simply looking for something new, may I suggest the Inspector Montalbano TV series based on the crime novels by Andrea Camilleri. The 91 year old Sicilian writer is a literary treasure in Italy, perhaps the only literary treasure after the recent loss of Umberto Eco, whose medieval mystery The Name of the Rose sparked a hit film adaptation starring Sean Connery which you could also watch for this challenge!
Inspector Montalbano lives in corrupt modern Italy, where he is a thorn in the side of both his superiors and the shady types he pursues, an idiosyncratic loose cannon whose greatest satisfaction, besides getting his man, is enjoying a good meal.
5. A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the book by Anthony Burgess. Revolutionary when it came out and nothing that came later has dulled its edge.
6. The 1962 Lolita, the definitive one, Stanley Kubrick again, from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, which some people have chosen for their banned book challenge.
7. I should have just made a Stanley Kubrick section! The terrifying The shining, from the book by Stephen King. "Wendy, I'm home!"
9. Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott from the book Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K Dick. I confess that in this case I haven't actually read the book, but I'm putting it in anyway because sci-fi cognoscenti all say it's a great read. For sci-fi lovers. Whereas the film is for everyone.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird, from the book by Harper Lee, starring Gregory Peck from my hometown, Gregory Peck who can never not be Atticus Finch for you once you've seen this movie, no matter how many times he buzzes around Rome with Audrey Hepburn on his vespa.
11. Fight club from the book by Chuck Palahniuk. I'm thinking this could be the one time where the movie might actually be better than the book, but don't jump on me if you don't agree, I'm not sure-sure!
12. All Quiet on the Western Front - an oldie, way back from 1930, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque published the year before, another banned book for your Challenge 13. Yes, it was not allowed to be published in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, for its pacifism, or as some might say, its realism.
13. No country for old men, by Joel and Ethan Coen, from the book by Cormac McCarthy. For me this was one of those movies that was not at all what you had pictured, but then it becomes your vision too. I simply hadn't been able to imagine the levels that 'menace' could ascend to.
14. My Father's Glory and its sequel My Mother's Castle, directed by Yves Robert, from the autobiographical novels set in the south of France by Marcel Pagnol. These should be better known! I laughed and I cried.
15. The remains of the day, directed by James Ivory, from the book by Kazuo Ishiguro. As always with Ivory, every detail is in tone. But I include it above all for Anthony Hopkins's performance. Which reminds me, I should put The silence of the lambs here too, from the book by Thomas Harris.
17. Brokeback Mountain, directed by Ang Lee, based on a short story by Annie Proulx, a format which I suspect was responsible for her being able to say “I may be the first writer in America to have a piece of writing make its way to the screen whole and entire.”
18. The man who laughs, from the book by Victor Hugo. If you enjoy an occasional high tragic drama, this is for you. A young man who was disfigured as a child by a band of misfits who gave him what I discovered is called a "Glasgow smile", and the beautiful blind girl who thinks, from touching his face, that he is always happy.
19. LA Confidential, based on the novel that won James Ellroy his place among the gods of noir. Some changes to the plot in the movie don't change that.
20. What did I choose for this challenge? I watched The lady in the van, which I thought was superbly done. It turned out to be one of those movie versions where the characters as brought to life are very different from how you had imagined them, but nonetheless completely compelling. I had pictured Miss Shepherd as more petulant and more faded than the dogmatic and disdainful Miss Shepherd which Maggie Smith gave us, but I liked the greater toughness and thus more startling vulnerability.
But I also decided to re-watch the most terrifying movie I have ever seen, the one I can't believe my parents took their kids to see, even if it was showing at their favourite little art house theatre which usually showed Ingmar Bergman-type movies which might have gone over our heads but certainly not traumatised us. It's the 1946 black and white version of Great Expectations, directed by David Lean.
Two things happened. One was that watching it now as an adult, having seen hundreds of films, I found myself constantly thinking how it was one of the most perfect movies ever made. And two, the scene when the huge, scary, escaped convict Magwitch jumps out from behind the tombstone in the cemetery thick with mist almost stopped my heart, again. On the other hand, it was interesting to see that while for all these years I have remembered seeing Miss Havisham burn up, down to her terrified eyes, it turns out that actually we are only shown the log rolling out of the fire and starting the hem of her cobwebby old wedding dress blazing. It's her horrible screams that let us imagine what later I was sure I had seen.
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