Great Novels You Never Knew Part VII

Motion picture adaptations too often disappoint those of us who are familiar with the original books from which they are derived. Arguably only a few dozen movie adaptations have the artistry to pass the test of time. The film gems selected this term do justice to their original novels as well as expand the original themes. Supplementary interviews, documentaries, archival photos, and director, actor, and author commentaries will accompany the film presentations to provide insight and historical context. 1984, written by George Orwell in 1949, presents a dystopian world where "War Is Peace," "Freedom Is Slavery," "Ignorance Is Strength," and, most famously, "Big Brother Is Watching You." Julius Caesar (1953) directed by Joseph Mankiewicz is considered by some film critics to be the finest film adaptation of a Shakespearean play. Sunset Boulevard (1950) starring William Holden as a broke would-be screenwriter and Gloria Swanson as a washed-up silent film star, takes an unflinching look at the Hollywood star system. For All About Eve (1950) director Mankiewicz settled on Betty Davis to play an acclaimed stage actress, a job offer which came at an opportune time for her after several box office bombs. In The Horse's Mouth (1958) Alec Guinness is an iconoclastic, boozy, mendacious, and charming painter, who has made a career of living on the kindness of strangers. Lion (2010) is a largely true account of Sarko, an Indian who at age five got lost in a crowded train station, and as an adult, through satellite maps, manages to finally locate his village and his family. In the black comedy Network (1976) a news anchor with a conscience departs from the corporate script and repeatedly alerts his viewers how they have been routinely deceived.

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