Books Into Movies - The Classics of the 1950s - Part 5

Did You Read the Book or See the Movie?

 Many of the books on the best-sellers list make their way into the theaters. It is so common that you often wonder if you read the book or saw the movie. Here are the books from the list of Top 10 Best Selling List that were made into movies.

From the Terrace by John O'Hara

From the Terrace is an historical novel that covers the life of Alfred Eaton in the first half of the 20th Century. Eaton had an emotionally distant father and Eaton himself has not learned to deal with most of his relationships. He has become very successful on the outside but is crumbling on the inside.

The 1960 film stars Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The promotion for the movie says: "An ambitious young executive chooses a loveless marriage and an unfulfilling personal life in exchange for a successful Wall Street career." It is not quite so clear that this has been a conscious choice, but it is surely a personally damaging choice.

Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson

Kay Thompson is back again with this 1958 book of the precocious six-year-old Eloise who lives in the Plaza hotel with her mother and her nanny. Eloise's mother is on a trip to Paris and Eloise is searching for any packages from her. Eloise also helps reunite a couple and helps a woman from being evicted. What a busy life for a six year old!

Eloise at Christmastime was adapted as a made-for-TV movie by Disney. The movie stars Sofia Vassilieva as Eloise and Julie Andrews as her Nanny. The movie won a Prime Time Emmy.

Ice Palace by Edna Ferber

Ice Palace is the story of Alaska's long journey to statehood. Edna Ferber visited Alaska five times to do research and was in contact with a Representative who was helping in the fight to gain statehood. The story follows two very different men who both have different views of Alaska.

Ferber's book came out a year before Alaska obtained statehood and she was given much credit for the success of this drive.

The 1960 film received a scathing review from The New York Times. The characters in the movie are "about as impressive as human beings as the clotheshorses in a sporting-goods shop." You get very little glimpses of Alaska and those views you do see are that is "no more authentic than cornstarch snow on a studio set." The movie stars Richard Burton, Robert Ryan, and Martha Hyer.

Exodus by Leon M. Uris

Exodus is about the founding of the state of Israel. Ari Ben Canaan is hatching a plot to transport Jewish refuges from a British Detention Camp in Cyprus to Palestine. The story follows the histories of many of the main characters. The title of the book refers to the transport ship Exodus that left France in 1947 full of Jewish war camp survivors and headed toward Palestine. Since the passengers had no legal immigration certificates to Palestine the British Royal Navy seized the ship and sent the passengers back to Europe.

Author Leon Uris sold the film rights to the the book in order to fund his research. The film is directed by Otto Preminger and stars Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint. The movie won an Oscar for Best Music and was nominated for two more.

Hawaii by James Michener

Hawaii is the story of the volcanic formation of the islands and the waves of immigrants to the islands until Hawaii achieved statehood. Many of Michener's books read like an anthropology text and this epic novel is no different. Michener has created the book in five different chapters that each cover a different aspect in the formation of the land and people of our 50th state.

The 1966 movie covers only the third chapter "From the Farms of Bitterness". The movies ending is also inconsistent with the book. The movie was directed by George Roy Hill and starred Max Von Sydow, Julie Andrews, Richard Harris, Gene Hackman, and Carroll O'Connor. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars.

Advice and Consent by Allen Drury

 Robert Leffingwell is a nominee for Secretary of State.  As stated in the constitution, all Presidential nominees need to be appointed with the "advice and consent"  of the United States Senate.  This political novel  covers the problems with the Leffingwell nomination and the political pressures that are applied.  The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and is still considered to be a great racy, political intrigue novel.

The 1962 was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Henry Fonda, Walter Pigeon, Charles Laughton, Peter Lawford, Gene Tierney, and Burgess Meredith. 

The Ugly American by Gene L. Burdick and William J. Lederer

The Ugly American is a collection of 20 short stories that take place in a fictional Asian country called Sarkhan. The term "Ugly American" refers to the US State Departments innate arrogance and its failures to understand the local culture, and the unattractive hero Homer Atkins. The book is said to portray the American experience in Viet Nam and supposedly portrays several real people.

The 1963 movie stars Marlon Brando as Ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite who undergoes a Senate confirmation hearing and takes over in Sarkhan where civil war threatens a tense peace. Once there White sees how successful Communism has been with the local culture. There is local anti-U.S. sentiment which may just be a longing for self-determination. The movie does not follow the book that closely.

 

Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell

Many reviews call Dear and Glorious Physician Taylor Caldwell's finest novel. It is about Lucanas, a Greek, who wrote the third gospel in the New Testament - The Gospel of Luke. Lucanas was one of the greatest physician of the ancient world who heard of the life of Christ. He studied all he could learn, visited the places Jesus visited, talked with his followers, and even interviewed Mary, the mother of Jesus. Caldwell traveled the same areas and meticulously researched the subject.

Paramount was going to adapt Dear and Glorious Physician in the mid-60's starring Keir Dullea. But, Paramount was afraid that the topic had gone out of style and cancelled the project. It is currently being adapted and is scheduled for release in 2012.

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

 Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris is the first in a series of four comedic books about a London charlady. In this book Mrs. Harris so loves her employer's couture wardrobe that she decides to go to Paris and buy her own evening gown.  The book is about her adventures there and the people she meets.

The book was adapted into a TV-movie and starred Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, and Omar Sharif.

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