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Stanley Kubrick and the Art of Adaptation: Three Novels, Three Films 0th Edition

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 000-0786402814
ISBN-10: 0786402814
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Editorial Reviews


"Explores the inherent difficulties of converting fiction into celluloid...reasoned and illuminating" -- Creative Screenwriting

"Tightly focused…thorough, careful comparisons" -- Choice

"highly recommended" -- Small Press

How often have we said that we loved the movie but hated the book, or vice-versa? Adapting a novel for the screen has always been a tricky process and one that can result in a film's success or failure. There are few filmmakers who have had as much of a hands-on approach to adaptation as auteur Stanley Kubrick. Greg Jenkins's thorough and highly readable analysis of several Kubrick films and the original works on which they're based is both an exploration of the process and its end result. Jenkins chose Kubrick for several reasons. He is an eminently successful director-screenwriter whose oeuvre holds great critical and pop culture interest. Kubrick adapted 10 of his 12 commercial films (as of 1993) and has been vocal in his views on adaptive art, and finally, his ability to "control and safeguard his projects is exceptional among directors." The films "Lolita," "The Shining" and "Full Metal Jacket" are explored here and represent an eclectic slate of work by Kubrick matched only by the diversity of the original authors -- Vladimir Nabakov, Stephen King and Gustav Hasford, respectively. The book begins with a primer on adaptation and its journalistic, scholarly and practical consideration, followed by Kubrick's positions and approach and method. Having established those grounds, Jenkins moves onto the three films, simultaneously and seamlessly comparing the book and the film chronologically. Through this method, we have a no-stone-unturned look at how Kubrick has crafted his films and why he has made certain choices in story telling. Highly recommended for film aficionados and those who admire the work of this great cinematic master. -- From Independent Publisher

About the Author

Writer Greg Jenkins lives in Luke, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 173 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786402814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786402816
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,417,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Hall on April 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was particularly interested to read this slim volume because unlike most film books I read, which are full of information on films I've never seen, I had actually seen all 3 films, and read all 3 books. I plodded through a rather tedious introduction where he lays down the matrix for which he examines each film/book (I've found that most academic introductions can be skipped) and this is by far the weakest part of the book. In short, he examines the differences and similarites between the respective novels and films. You really don't need to know any more than that.

While well-written for the most part, I kept wondering, why only three films? I don't remember (even in the introduction) why these three were selected? They are not chronological - Lolita comes at the beginning of his film career and the others were the most recent films he had produced. Nor do they have any stylistic or thematic similarities (either the books or the films), so why these three and not all of Kubrick's work? (99% of which has been adapted from novels or short stories).

It could also be argued that the author chose three "lesser" Kubrick films (although, as a huge Kubrick fan, I love all three). Why not Clockwork Orange? Why not Dr. Strangelove? Why not Paths of Glory? All three are considered by most critics and fans to be three superior films to the ones discussed.

That's one question, but the most important is: Why not all of his film adaptations? At 173 pages this is a rather slim volume and when you deduct notes, introduction and space for a few photos, it makes one wonder why more films were not discussed.

Another flaw is that he seems to miss the basic point of Kubrick's adaptations. Kubrick was never trying to make a great adaptation of a novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Studebaker Hoch, on November 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Jenkins writes a book that needed to be written for the longest time: an in-depth examination of the process by which Kubrick has created his various masterpieces. Save for his films made prior to "The Killing", Kubrick has only worked from adaptation. And he has chosen material that has stumped filmmakers, material that in some cases was considered unfilmable. An outstanding, well written, researched, and thought out book. Highly recommended for writers, students of film, and devotees of Kubrick.
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