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 Play to Movie and Vice Versa

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Should a succussful play be brought to the big screen?
Sure, it brings awareness to a great play.
0%
 0% [ 0 ]
No, it's blasphemy! Stage stays on the stage!
29%
 29% [ 2 ]
Maybe, depends on the play
71%
 71% [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 7
 

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James Jay
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PostSubject: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:19 pm

Have you seen a play turned into a movie? How did it turn out? Or how about a movie turned into a play? Was it good, or a waste of time?

One of the most well known is Grease. It is probably the most recognized, but not as many people realized it was a successful play first. I didn't until long after I saw the movie......

What about the movie Legally Blonde? It was turned into a stage musical. I caught it on VH1, and thought, eh, not to bad. A bit overacted, but otherwise, pretty good.....

Any fave Shakespeare movies?

What are your thoughts?

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QuantumCowboy
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:07 pm

Interesting topic, and I'm sure the debate could be heated. It's nice when people have a heightened awareness of a great play, and I suppose it is one of the only ways to share great literature with certain people. But at the end of the day, they are two fundamentally different arts.... to make it work well on the screen, you need to restructure it from what made it good as a play/book. You have to focus on close views, quick changes in view angle/cuts, and typically a compressed storyline and less developed characters. And then the really annoying thing is that everyone expects every production thereafter to be just like the movie in every way....

I'm not trying to bash film, I love film, its just a different art and I don't think the translation works well very often. I voted "Maybe, it depends on the play" because I hate to say "never," but my real sentiment is more like "it should be done rarely and with great care."

Thanks Jay, this is an interesting poll. I'm curious to see what everyone thinks.

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Kara
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:03 pm

I might have to agree with QC on this one. My biggest pet peeve about bringing a play to the silver screen is that it practically renders the play un-performable on stage thereafter. Nearly everyone expects the local community theatre group to be doing the show exactly as they saw it on the screen--how unfair. It's an insurmountable challenge for the theatre and always a dissapointment for the theatregoer. My second-biggest pet peeve is that when a play becomes a movie, the production companies commonly want big-name movie stars in the leads--not necessarily the singers or actors best suited to perform the roles. I say keep the play on the stage.
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James Jay
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:27 am

I agree to an extent with both of you. When something you really like is transltaed to another media, you have a preconcevied notion of what the product sshould be. I recall a recent play, that was based on a book, that had been made into a movie, then rewritten as a play, then later remade as a movie that had nothing to do with the original book, movie, or play! I'm sure there were preconceived ideas as to what that play was going to be, but those ideas were shattered, in a good way, once they saw the quality of the play.

On the flip side, 12 Angry Men was a fantastic movie/play in both regards, but truly, certain elements have to be given up in order to go from one to the other.

Phantom of the Opera, recently, was made into a movie, based on the play. I never saw the play, but I enjoyed the movie. How would you feel if Wicked was turned into a movie?

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:06 pm

Say, what? Absolutely, wild. The idea of taking one art form and turning it into another. Why that would mean we would have to be creative; and, heaven forbid that. I mean, goodness knows we aren't that open-minded to even conceive of such a thing. Such as it is, we must stay inside our box and not deviate, at all. We must be good little thespians and not compete in any way with those big screen and little screen actors. Now, all I have to say to the matter is . . . BRING IT ON.

Anytime we are promoting the arts, it has to be a good thing. Not to say that it is always a great success, but there have been good ones. I really enjoyed what Mel Gibson did with Hamlet and Kevin Kline with A Midsummer Night's Dream. (But, then again, I do love some Kevin Kline.) But, what I liked about it was that they really opened up the world of Shakespeare, which most people shun like a foreign language. Also, Long Days' Journey Into Night, with Kevin Spacey. WoW.

So, I think that the stars have to be lined up correctly, the vision has to be clear, the message for the audience appropriate, and finally, the money to back it up successfully all have to be in place to have a great cross-over. I vote, go fo it.

Tamitha
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:00 am

I vote No Never! pirat

AND HERE'S WHY:

Like Kara Said....the audience is polluted after they see a film production, except for the theatrically savy, most people think that the movie is the play I know, I know...there are some fantastic movies out there that are from unbelievable plays but in the end...I feel like creating a film from a play is cheapening the art form.

I love film and some of my favorite movies are Annie, Little Shop and Chicago, but I would rather lose those movies and have the plays be that much more precious and special than have the general public be disappointed when they don't see Catherine Zeta Jones or Rick Moranis on stage.

Call me an elitist but I think that theatre struggles enough on plenty of fronts...there is little call for stacking the odds against it even more.

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:58 am

James Jay wrote:

Any fave Shakespeare movies?

At the risk of incurring the wrath of K & K, I have to admit that I did really enjoy both Kenneth Branaugh's (sp?) flm adaptation of Hamlet, as well as the Romeo and Juliet movie with Leonardo di Caprio. And you know what Kara? Both of those were moved in time... and they were good! tongue (we had an in-person debate about anachronistic Shakespeare earlier).

One thing I really like about Shakespeare is the incredibly sparse stage directions. He draws. Who says he has to draw a sword and can't draw a 9mm baretta? If it's not explicitly written in as prohibited, I say it's fair game, regardless of what the author may have intended.

I had a related debate with myself about "Yes Virginia". That was a tough situation for the director, having the author be in the production. But I say, at the end of the day, if a producer pays for the rights to a script, he/she has purchased the rights to have a director interpret the author's words however that director pleases (specific restrictions in the license excepted). REGARDLESS of whatever the author thinks or may have intended.

Sure, Shakespeare never saw a personal firearm, and therefore definitely could not have intended his stage direction for that purpose, but who are we to impose our perspectives on what *art* is supposed to be or what he would have thought about modern techniques and interpretations? I'm sure Bach never heard of an iPod, but I've got a slew of mp3's by him on mine, played by modern musicians on instruments engineered with a precision unheard of in Baroque times, and recorded by soulless electronic machines that surely would have been as alien to the composer as a Star Trek episode is to us. I still love it!

All the same, my previous comments stand... if you're translating between different arts, it should be done with a great deal of care, and I certainly believe that there are some plays shouldn't ever be subjected to that by anyone short of a rare artist who is a genius of both mediums.

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James Jay
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:08 pm

oooo....what a hornet's nest I have unleashed......Any other opinions??? Swweny Todd? Godspell? Death on the Nile (book to play to movie?) Huh huh?

(Ducks, runs...) bounce

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:27 pm

QuantumCowboy wrote:
James Jay wrote:

Any fave Shakespeare movies?


All the same, my previous comments stand... if you're translating between different arts, it should be done with a great deal of care, and I certainly believe that there are some plays shouldn't ever be subjected to that by anyone short of a rare artist who is a genius of both mediums.


Consider my wrath incurred... LOL Evil or Very Mad

My question to you QC is...who gets to decide? You say it should be done with a great deal of care...what about all the times it isn't? Who gets to choose which productions were done with the right level of care?

I do agree with you...I love the Branaugh version of Hamlet too, but Sweeny Todd was a travesty in my eyes...I love Johnny Depp, but the guy butchered the vocals in a truly beautiful musical. Sad!! Crying or Very sad

Ultimately, I suppose that all of this is a matter of opinion (isn't all art?)

Interesting interesting interesting!

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:47 pm

keltroncybo wrote:

Consider my wrath incurred... LOL Evil or Very Mad

Eeek! Shocked Perhaps I should make like Jay and duck and run....


keltroncybo wrote:

My question to you Nalin is...who gets to decide? You say it should be done with a great deal of care...what about all the times it isn't? Who gets to choose which productions were done with the right level of care?

keltroncybo wrote:

Ultimately, I suppose that all of this is a matter of opinion (isn't all art?)


I think you answered your own question there my dear Kelly. *I* get to decide. And so do you. And so does everyone else. We're talking about what *should* or *should not* be done here, not *must* or must not*.

Naturally, most of us won't be there when the idea is first floated to convert a play to film in order to personally bless or veto it, but we will be there to view it, and if we don't like it, then by golly we won't like it (and we'll probably rant about it on this forum!). The best we can do is use what status we have as informed devotees of the art (har har) to influence the opinions of our non-thespian friends and the general public.

The alternative is to enforce the separation of arts by law or something, make it a *must not* instead of a *should not*. I could turn the question around on you then, and ask who gets to decide where one art ends and another begins?

Is a filmed stage play a movie? What if you use cuts and pans and transitions in the filming of a stage play, is it still a play? What if it's a play performed outside and you just happen to do that? I realize that there is a huge difference between film and theater in the general case, but there are so many gray areas, and who gets to decide what side of the line those fall on?

I don't think art should be so compartmentalized and controlled (but by golly I can complain about it if I dont like the movie). Smile

Here's a new tack on it: are we really talking about turning one art form into another, or are we talking about mass market versus locally produced? It seems Tamitha and I generally are looking at it as the former (e.g., a painting of a horse and a sculpture of the same horse are both art in their own right), whereas K & K seem to be looking at it more like the latter (e.g., Starbucks reaches tens of millions, but it feels like a cheapening of what you get in the local coffee shop that hardly anyone gets to experience). Am I right or reaching?

Seems to me like both of those perspectives have a point (which is why I voted Maybe).

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:15 pm

This is kind of a hard topic for me. I think it is good for non-theatre goers to get exposed to musicals. Usually once they see the movie they go see the show on stage and like it better on stage. I have many friends who have been "brought to theatre" because they saw and liked a movie made from a stage play or musical. In that way I think that they are good...I personally don't like most movie adaptations. I saw Sweeney and decided to look at it from a movie point of view. I liked it as a movie. I hated it as a Movie adaptation of the show. The Vocals were way weak but most of them worked for the character...I hated Mrs. Lovett's one dimensional singing but the rest of the cast was ok.
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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:40 pm

QC,

geek

that being said...I think you are right...I am looking at this from the perspective of mass marketing...you know how I feel about Starbucks vs. the little guy.

Well said.

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PostSubject: Re: Play to Movie and Vice Versa   Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:54 am


It has taken me a while to repond to this post. It's a hard question to answer. But I think I agree with just about everyone else, it just depends. Sometimes filmmakers do a fantastic job of taking a Play and turning into a movie and sometimes they don't. I have seen Phantom of the Opera both on Stage and the movie, and I have to say both are really good - although I did enjoy and get much more invovled and entranced by the play. (which was an awesome time - thanks QC!). I recently heard that Xanadu (a movie that I LOVE) is on Broadway. I read a synopsis and the story is a little different than the film, but I would still like to see it. Oh and if you haven't seen the movie - it stars Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, and has great music by ELO - classic!!


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