Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekly Geeks

We have JD today; another infrequent visitor to Just Add Books.

On to the Weekly Geeks:

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could "unsee," and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

I'm fairly easy-osey about movie adaptations. I can usually see, narratively, why a film has gone in a different direction from the book. Or, if the adaptation is very different (Slumdog Millionaire, for example, apart from the basic plot structure deviates greatly from Q & A but is still very well done) but I still enjoy the movie, then I'm right there.

What I am going to talk about is the TV adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's novels: Evil Under the Sun. I'm not talking about the most excellent _ and bitchy film _ starring Diana Rigg and Peter Ustinov, but the more recent version, with David Suchet.

Who, I think, is an excellent Poirot. But the writers made completely unnecessary changes to the story, which really didn't do it any favours and put me off a little bit.

In Evil Under the Sun, Poirot is on holiday at a posh seaside hotel. There are Undercurrents (as always) with a glamourous actress flirting shamelessly, a young married couple apparently on the rocks .... so, so many things.

Then the glam actress is murdered at an isolated cove and the game, as they say, is afoot.

What they changed for the TV show, for no reason at all, was Poirot's reason for being at the hotel. Instead of just being on holiday, it's suddenly a health spa.

Which, for Poirot, is very out-of-character. Plus, the writers added his secretary Miss Lemon, and Captain Hastings, who are not in Evil Under the Sun and don't really add a lot here.

The structure of the original is such that the changes were, as far as I could see, unnecessary and puzzling.

Um. Happy Weekly Geeks everyone.


Anonymous said...

Interesting choice, Maree. At least, it's not Stanley Kubrick, which so far is the sure loser (don't see any of his adaptations of books; the consensus thus far is they suck). As I'm just starting to read Agatha Christie for a reading challenge, I can see what you're saying about adding Captain Hastings back into a story of which he wasn't a part originally. That would be odd.

Kim said...

Sometimes the changes they make are mind boggling and I want to say, "have you read the book?" to the screen adaptation writer!
Happy Saturday and Happy Geekiness-

Ana S. said...

Unnecessary changes are definitely the ones that annoy me the most!

Ali said...

What odd changes to make for the movie adaption. Hard to know what they're thinking, at times!

SariJ said...

Sometimes when I see big changes in a movie, I want to ask "you picked this book why??

Rikki said...

I love Suchet as POirot but I don't think I remember that film. W've got the collection, I've got to get it out again. I loved the Peter Ustinov one. Rigg and Birkin were great. It is hard to understand why they sometimes change things without rhyme or reason.

Alix said...

I agree I don't know why they did that. It was like with the new Miss Marple's they changed the plots and even a couple of times the murderer which seemed bizarre!

David Suchet is the best Poirot!

Maree said...

It's been interesting,reading others' posts this week.
Alexa: I really don't like the new Miss Marple _ too hard. And changing the murderer borders on sacrilege!
Happy Weekly Geeks everyone.

Erika Powell said...

I haven't read the books or seen the show but I understand being confused when something is really out of character. Hollywood can be really bad for our favorite books

Amat Libris said...

I don't think I remember this one... I chose a tv Christie, too (well two, actually) - more and bigger unnecessary changes!

Kerrie said...

Hello Maree. You could consider submitting your Agatha Christie blog posts to the Agatha Christie Reading Carnival - you'll find it at