Many original films are put forward on a regular basis, but it can be stated that those stories are not entirely original.
For example, the story of “Romeo and Juliet” comes from the narrative poem “The Tragedy of Romeus and Juliet,” which was first published in 1562, before Shakespeare was even born.
The first things that were adapted into narrative film were books, starting all the way in 1910 when Thomas Edison made a short film based on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
Early filmmakers like George Méliès took cues from authors like Jules Verne when it came to science fiction. Even the works of Lewis Carol and tales from “The 1001 Nights of Scheherazade” were brought to the projection screen in the early days of cinema.
When dialogue became a needed element for films to make money, many Hollywood studios hired authors such as William Faulkner to write screenplays. However, many of these authors weren’t able to make the transition.
As a result, Hollywood plays it safe when it comes to adapting literature. Instances in which writers can transition between print and film writing are few and far between.
Things really begin to get dicey when companies decide to adapt a series of books into a series of films, or one film, depending on the size of the books.
When the internet was first introduced, fans of these books were then able to discuss these films at great length, creating an era where one slight change to a character trait or plot thread unleashes a firestorm of anger.
At the same time, adapting these stories to film and/or television brings these stories to the mainstream. This means that the audience grows larger and both the author and the studios make more money on the property.
Next week, The Weekly Reel will be taking a break from looking at the film industry to discuss an issue that is best described as a “war on a whole other plane.”