Great Novels You Never Knew, Adapted for Film

From a movie galaxy of 30,000 titles there are but a handful that work well both as novels and films. Successful film adaptations can be excellent introductions to novels you might never know have existed. The world of The Swimmer is typical John Cheever, full of all the trappings of the upper middle class, as well as the persistent malaise that permeates their lifestyle. In The Rainmaker Burt Lancaster is in top form as a charismatic con man who offers hope to a Southwestern town (in 1913) beset by drought and a woman whose life is at a crossroad. Salesman is a cinema verite film about the Mid-American Bible Company, which proved to be the perfect vehicle for their non-blinking look at the lives of a band of itinerant salesmen who all have risk-taking personalities. The remaining films deal with the French Revolution, since 220 years later it has arguably been quite relevant in the turbulent year 2020. In The Scarlett Pimpernel the hero, Sir Percy, presents himself to the outside world as a wealthy, handsome, impeccably-dressed English aristocrat. In reality, he is a clever and cunning strategist on a mission to rescue aristocrats targeted for the guillotine during the French Revolution. Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities on one hand presents the amoral Marquis as representative of a vicious aristocracy that oppresses the nation’s poor. By fighting cruelty with cruelty, the radicals ultimately perpetuate the violence to which they have been subjected. In addition to these films, there will be a reenactment documentary of the Revolution, as well as a video on revolutionary John Jacques Rousseau.

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