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Entries in Stage to Screen (2)

Monday
Dec072009

From stage to screen: why DOUBT is amazing in all its forms

 

Doubt is one of the best films I have ever seen. I feel the need to say this, because it will become evident in this writing. It represents a kind of movie that we don't see very often. It has virtually no "action;" it's full of extended scenes of dialogue; it's a mystery; and it is a completely different film to every person who sees it. Every moment and camera move, no matter how small, holds significance. It begs to be examined, poked, and prodded over multiple viewings and offers something new each time. It tells its story, but doesn't tell us how to feel about it.

I first found out that Doubt was adapted from a play when I was rooting for it to win "Best Original Screenplay" at the Academy Awards, and it wasn't even nominated. Instead, I found it in the "Best Adapted Screenplay" category. Released in 2004, Doubt, a parable, is written by John Patrick Shanley, who also wrote and directed the big screen version. After reading the play, I noticed that there are intense similarities and stark differences between the two versions, but they compliment each other well. Reading the play focused my eye on small details in the film; and watching the film, I see benefit in the more disciplined and simple approach of the play. Shanley has achieved an amazing feat, in that he's written a story and shaped the best elements of it across two very different mediums. Both the play and the film are full of theatrical and cinematic elements, squeezed and molded together in near perfect harmony.

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Thursday
Aug272009

From Shakespeare to screen: How 10 Things I Hate About You fails to Tame the Shrew

A few weeks ago, I heard that the Heath Ledger/Julia Stiles career launcher 10 Things I Hate About You (directed by Gil Junger) is actually a modern remake of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.  I saw 10 Things back when it was new (10 years ago) and didn’t think it was too bad, but I also didn’t think it was trying to be modern Shakespeare. So, instead of just hearing this news like a normal person, I decided to watch and read them both to see if 10 Things is actually anything like The Taming of the Shrew.

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