Top 10: Film Adaptations of Long Forgotten Literature

LeTune February 11, 2011 1

Film adaptions have the power to make or break its original creator. History contains its fair share of unknown writers who’ve become superstars overnight. But there are as many writers who have been forgotten when their novels are adapted onto the silver screen.

1. True Grit (1969 & 2010)

Based on Charles Portis’ bestseller from 1968, the Coen brothers have created one of 2010 most hyped movies. The literature version of this story along with its writer are long forgotten.

2. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Perhaps one of the funniest films of all time is based on the very very serious book Red Alert, published in 1958 by Peter George under pseudonym Peter Bryant. This book does not contains the slightest bit of comic relief.

3. Psycho (1960)

Who remembers Robert Bloch today? Rumor suggests Alfred Hitchcock may have stockpiled the book to keep the ending of the story from getting out to the general public.

4. Jaws (1975)

Peter Benchley did not realize the explosive potential of his book although it sold over 20 million copies. But Steven Spielberg sure did, and now nobody remembers the book.

5. First Blood (1982)

This action novel by Canadian David Morrells published in 1972 launched the Rambo-franchise ten years later. The main characters dies in the book and Morrell took the name Rambo from kind of apple.

6. Men in Black (1997)

The third MIB-movie is released in 2012. Who knew this blockbuster series originated from a comic book series by Lowell Cunningham? Back then Will Smith’s character was a blond curly haired white dude.

7. Die Hard (1988)

Though this classic action movie stuck very close to the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, with many lines pulled directly from the book, Thorp and his original creation remains in the shadows of Willis’ “yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker”!

8. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Dashiell Hammet’s once hailed masterpiece Red Harvest from 1929 has since been adapted for both Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” and Sergie Leones’ A Fistful of Dollars. Now all we remember is Clint Eastwood as the man with no name.

9. Starship Troopers (1997)

Robert A Heinleins science fiction novel from 1959 has been made into many films, the most popular one in 1997 by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who also hated the book.

10. Deliverance (1972)

James Dickey is a forgotten name today. But this alcoholic poet and writer still lives on to a narrow group of literary scholars as the author of the 1970 novel Deliverance. The other ten people only remember this guy as the sheriff in the 1972 movie adaptation starring Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds.

One Comment »

  1. Jay Arr Henderson October 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm -

    This was a great idea for a list, but you didn’t get obscure enough. Your idea that Deliverance, Starship Troopers and Jaws are forgotten as novels is just wrong. Huge numbers of people remember these and ocassionally re-read them. You were right on in other places. I think people would be surprised to discover how different the novel Psycho is from the movie. As for Red Alert, I’ve read it and I can’t find where it’s really much like the movie at all. It’s like those movies made from Stephen King short stories where they actually kept nothing but King’s name.