The Library Goes to the Movies

Many books have been turned into Oscar-nominated films; I’ve just read a few of them. I found one exception; the children’s book, “Cinderella Penguin, or The Little Glass Flipper” by Janet Perlman was adapted from her 1981 Best Animated Short Film nominee, “The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin”.

For wonderful children’s books made into Oscar-winning animated shorts, check out: “The Ugly Duckling“, Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale; “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, about a bull who didn’t want to fight matadors; and “Gerald McBoing-Boing” by Dr. Seuss, about a boy who only speaks in sound effects.

One of my top 5 favorite films, “To Kill a Mockingbird”  (based on Harper Lee’s only published work), won the Oscar in 1963 for Best Adapted Screenplay. I decided to listen to the audiobook. This classic tells about small-town life, prejudice, and a controversial rape trial in 1935 Alabama. The portions of the book that didn’t make it into the screenplay lent fascinating depth to life in Maycomb County and the people who lived there, but none of it was necessary to the film’s narrative. I think the movie is a near-perfect distillation of the novel, and I couldn’t imagine any other voices than those of the actors in the film.

For two other excellent film adaptations of complex novels, I recommend “Gone with the Wind“, winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, based on Margaret Mitchell’s epic, and “Mystic River“, adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel , and nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Kim vonHedemann

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