What Price Is Yours?

It was a quiet Christmas Eve here, about 30 minutes north of London:

Early Christmas Day was similar. We drove off mid-morning to Essex – about an hour away – to spend Christmas night and Boxing Day with my brother-in-law and his family.

After Christmas dinner, as everyone relaxed (and some were watching an episode of Call The Midwife and then Home Alone 2), at one point my 16 year old nephew snuck up behind me and over my shoulder peeked at what I was reading…

…as I was sitting with my iPad:

[โ€œWar and Peaceโ€ on Kindle for iPad. Photo by me, 2018.]

“Light reading?” he laughed.

“Worth reading,” I replied.

Santa Claus had also brought me a DVD of the 2007 adaption that I much enjoyed when I saw it on television a few months ago:

[โ€œWar and Peaceโ€ miniseries, 2007. Photo by me, 2018.]

That version – much like most versions – has been criticized for straying from the original novel at times.

For one, “Natasha” in the novel is black-haired, and at the beginning of the tale a young teen:

[Excerpt from “War and Peace” on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

However, in that film version she is blonde and portrayed by a woman who is in her middle-twenties.

And thatโ€™s for starters.

Then again, insofar as I am aware English was not commonly spoken in early-1800s Russian households either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I noticed there also just how much my brother-in-law likes Lee Childโ€™s “Jack Reacher” novels:

The “Jack Reacher” films have been at times viciously assailed by book fans for not being faithful to the books in the casting of “Reacher.” Lots of fans simply do not think that Tom Cruise was anywhere near right for the lead. “Reacher” is blond and about “7 ft” tall, while Tom Cruise is, well, not…

Home here again in Hertfordshire yesterday, we happened to watch, on the BBC’s online iPlayer, 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks. It’s a pleasant film about Walt Disney’s (the actual man) 1961 pursuit of “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers as he sought the rights to turn her creations into a film. Of course Disney did succeed in getting her signature eventually, and in 1964 the now famous film starring Julie Andrews was released. (As we know, there is a new โ€œMary Poppinsโ€ version now out.)

[Screen capture of the BBC iPlayer.]

Being pursued by the head of a major film studio desperate to buy the rights to your book would be “a problem” most writers would love to have. Travers had already for years been avoiding Disney because she did not want to see her characters “Disney-fied”. In many ways in Saving Mr. Banks she comes across as the epitome of a “difficult” author.

Yet most any writer might well also commiserate with at least some of Travers’s fears and objections. While needing Disney’s money – something else most other writers would appreciate; her business agent keeps telling her that her book sales are falling – she is intensely protective of “Mary Poppins” and her other characters and is upset over alterations to them Disney’s people were making before her eyes. True, films cannot be structured precisely like novels, so there have to be some changes to “adapt” novels successfully, but having developed the characters any author might wonder…

Indeed, where is your line? ๐Ÿค”

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Bonjour!/ Good morning from Hertfordshire, England.โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง . Moments in time (pre-iPhone, pre-digital) snapped the โ€œold-fashionedโ€ way (a camera using 35mm film developed at some time afterwards) by a rather, uh, younger version of myself. Twenty-three years ago this morning, July 14, 1995 (yes, yes, that was indeed before some of you were born), I was standing along the Champs Elysรฉes and later meandering in the vicinity. Among those who went by was then recently elected President Jacques Chirac.๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿš™๐Ÿ“ธ๐ŸŽž๐Ÿ˜Š . Back then in, err, my day, well, we were able โ€œto shareโ€ our photos only in person or by sending them through the mail – meaning using the actual postal service – to family and friends. There was no Instagram then. Yes, really.๐Ÿ˜ณ I know… the dark ages.๐Ÿ˜‚ . #bastilleday #fetenationale #Paris #France #champselysees #champselysรฉes #travel #tourism #14July #14julliet #35mm #JacquesChirac #photography #photos #expats #expatlife #authors #writers #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #photo #photography #history #politics #parade #memory

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Hope you had a good Christmas and are having a good week. ๐Ÿ˜Š

UPDATE: I updated the post by replacing “Robert’s” narrative discussion with the filmmaker with memes. The narrative is the same. It just seemed a bit more “amusing” framed as memes. ๐Ÿ™‚

2 replies »

  1. I agree about the Jack Reacher films not getting the right guy for the job. He doesn’t suit the character at all. But another of my favourite’s Lincoln Rhyme in the film Bone Collector, I actually found Denzel Washington made a good Lincoln. Again the book was better though.

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