Classical literature can leave one spell bound
If I had a choice between watching a movie based on a classic book, and reading it, I’d rather read the book first then maybe watch the movie.
I started reading classics for young readers like Little Women, Heidi, Kidnapped, and The Wizard of Oz, back before I started junior high. During the summer when there wasn’t much to do, getting lost between the pages of a good book was what I did. I liked the vivid description of the writers back then, something not seen in too many of the books today. Jane Eyre was my favorite as was Wuthering Heights, and Christy.
I like it when the movie follows the classical book, especially the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine version of Jane Eyre. I have a later copy of this movie with William Hurt as the tortured Mr. Rochester. Consequently, I prefer the movie Little Women with Katharine Hepburn as the tomboy, Jo. I also enjoy the Susan Sarandon Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst version of the early nineties. I did not like the version of Wuthering Heights with a very young Timothy Dalton. In that regard, I think they messed up the entire movie when they cast him as Heathcliff. He didn’t look right with a tan. I can overlook them not cutting Helen’s hair, which wasn’t curled, in a lesser version on KERA’s Masterpiece Theater production of Jane Eyre. I never saw any movie where they butchered a good classical book. Some of the actors may not have been cast correctly, but their acting made up for it.
It had been so long since I read Christy, that I didn’t mind the liberties they took in making it a series, All I ’ll say is that Kellie Martin looked too young to play the title role. Tyne Daily fit hers though. I never got around to reading Little Men before they bought the series to television, but Chris Sarandon as Professor Bhaer, should have stayed alive a little longer.
It is for these reasons that one should read the book before going to see the movie. That way, if the movie was bad one can remember the vivid description between its pages.