Finally, I am getting back to actually writing about children’s books! I have been reading Redwall by Brian Jacques, but one day when I was feeling really down I started One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, and I have completely fallen in love with it and I need to rave about it first! (I haven’t abandoned Redwall, I am just taken a temporary hiatus from it).
Like most people my age, I have seen the Disney animated film and the live action film, and enjoyed both of those, but I just surprised how many great snippets are in the book that have not been included in either version! The book is funny, and clever, and sweet in so many ways, and I feel like the parts that I have loved the most, for some reason, the film-makers had decided not to include!
For example, I love the nanny characters. In both films, there was one nanny, but in the book, there is two – one who was Mr Dearly’s nurse, named Nanny Butler, and one who was Mrs Dearly’s nurse, called Nanny Cook. When Mr and Mrs Dearly decide to get married, the nannies think at first they are out of a job, but they decide to retrain themselves – Nanny Cook as a cook, and Nanny Butler as a butler. Nanny Butler even wears pants, which is quite controversial! I love these two characters, but they have been amalgamated in both films into one character.
And another great character is that of an old spaniel, who takes Pongo and Missis in on their journey to find their puppies. He lives in an old manor house with his ninety year old pet (that is, to us humans, his owner) and tricks his pet into feeding him a whole loaf of toasted bread, passing the toast onto Pongo and Missis whenever his pet isn’t looking. The whole chapter with the spaniel is funny, and charming, and very visual – it has lots of physical comedy – and I can’t understand why this part would have been overlooked from both movies!
Adaptations of books into movies is always interesting, as there are always parts that have to be taken out, or altered, or new bits put in. There is always someone who is going to be unhappy with how the book has been interpreted into a movie. I don’t watch the movies of books that I really love, because I always end up disappointed, and I have found that it ruins the book when I try to reread it, because I can only hear the actors’ voices in my head. Movies can be fantastic in the way that they can bring stories to life, but they can stifle the imagination too.
Have you ever read a book and then watched the movie version, only to find your favourite part has been left out? Are there any movies you refuse to watch because you are scared it won’t live up to the book?