We’re all pretty familiar with movies that update the works of Jane Austen and Shakespeare (Bridget Jones/Clueless/Materials Girls/10 Things I Hate About You/She’s The Man/Big Business/Warm Bodies etc).
But what about the more left-field pictures based on classic novels?
The 1979 gang movie The Warriors was based on Xenophon’s ancient Greek epic Anabasis, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) echoed Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, 1998’s present day Great Expectations, Easy A (Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter), O Brother Where Art Thou? (The Odyssey), Match Point (Dreiser’s An American Tragedy), the 1930s-set Les Miserables (1995), Apocalypse Now (Conrad’s Heart of Darkness) and Ryan’s Daughter (Madame Bovary) all attempted to offer fresh takes on vintage works.
Brian De Palma’s rock musical Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) was a new spin on The Phantom of the Opera, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq brought Aristophanes’ sex strike satire Lysistrata to the present day, likewise Cruel Intentions (Dangerous Liaisons), Pretty Woman (Pygmalion) and Notes from the New World (2011) which was based on Dostoyevsky’s novella Notes from the Underground.
There’s also a slew of movies that owe a huge debt to Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye (the author’s estate continues to prevent an actual screen adaptation) such as Tadpole, Roger Dodger, Igby Goes Down, The Good Girl (all remarkably from 2002), Less than Zero (1987) and Ordinary People (1980).
Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tanenbaums (2001) echoes Salinger’s Glass family stories.
His 1998 picture Rushmore also bares some comparison with Catcher.
A few more clips: