Film adaptation

From ArticleWorld

The act of taking the ideas in a piece of work, most commonly a novel, and making it into a film is known as film adaptation. The transfer of a book to a film is the most common form of adaptation but other mediums can be used, including news articles, plays and even other films. Film adaptations have been made since the first days of cinema but have become increasingly common over the last decade. A good example of this is the spate of films being released which have been adapted from comic books and starring their superheroes as the lead character.


Taking a novel and transferring it on to film has both advantages and disadvantages. If a well read and much loved novel is used you can be fairly sure that the fans will go to see the film adaptation, meaning that takings will be high and the film will almost certainly be a financial success. However, questions of faithfulness to the original text will always be brought up and many viewers may be disappointed by the film, leading to bad publicity and poor DVD sales figures. Taking a lesser known novel and making a film of it is easier to do as the audience may not know it is taken from a novel and so will not be making comparisons to it. Upon learning it is taken from a novel at the end of the film they will assume it is a faithful representation of it. This can be very beneficial to the author as it heightens awareness of their work and is highly likely to increase sales of the book. However, it will require more publicity to attract viewers to see the film if they do not know of the story already. This means promotion costs rise to the level of a film which is not an adaptation of a novel in order to interest audiences.

William Shakespeare

Adapting a play into a film is perhaps the easiest to do as it already contain the dialogue and almost always has a running time of less than three hours, which is generally the maximum time a film will run for. Shakespeare is the most prolific dramatist to have his works adapted to film. Not only are many of his plays transferred to the screen fairly faithfully, in examples such as Henry V and Hamlet, but adaptations of his stories are made into film too, such as West Side Story and Kiss Me, Kate.