Wyatt’s World: Writing the Movies—Novelists as Screenwriters

Adapting a book into a movie is complex undertaking. Sometimes the added visual and aural textures transform our mental conceptions of the story into grander visions, but all too frequently the jump from page to screen fails to resonate. Some adaptations get a running start at that critical jump when another novelist pens the screenplay. As there are fewer pleasures more rewarding for readers than to have another chance to experience a beloved book, here are five book-based films adapted for the screen by other novelists.

You Only Live Twice directed by Lewis Gilbert (MGM). Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay based on Ian Fleming’s novel.

The Big Sleep directed by Howard Hawks (Warner Brothers). William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and a studio screenwriter drafted the script from Raymond Chandler’s novel.

The African Queen directed by John Huston (Paramount). James Agee cowrote the screenplay based on C.S. Forester’s novel.

Brokeback Mountain directed by Ang Lee (Universal). Larry McMurtry cowrote the screenplay based on Annie Proulx’s short story.

Double Indemnity directed by Billy Wilder (Universal). Raymond Chandler cowrote the screenplay based on James M. Cain’s novel.

Reading To Remember: Binchy, Keegan, Vidal

With the passing of Maeve Binchy, John Keegan, and Gore Vidal this past week, the reading world has been diminished by three singular voices. To honor their work and memories, spend some time reading. Below are iconic examples of their work.

Maeve Binchy. Circle of Friends (Dell)
John Keegan. The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme (Penguin)
Gore Vidal. Lincoln (Vintage)


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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net