Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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sinemadelisikiz
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:36 pm
Location: CA

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#76 Post by sinemadelisikiz » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:15 am

1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. The Cranes are Flying
3. Make Way for Tomorrow
4. Dial M for Murder
5. City Girl
6. Holiday
7. Detective Story
8. The Crucified Lovers
9. Baby Doll
10. Waterloo Bridge
11. The Matchmaker
12. The Moon is Blue
13. Killer Joe
14. His Girl Friday
15. Stage Door
16. The Magician (Bergman)
17. Pandora’s Box
18. The Girls
19. Sabrina (Wilder)
20. The Shop Around the Corner

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bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#77 Post by bottled spider » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:29 am

The Birthday Party (Friedkin, 1968). Also applicable to the 24 hrs project. For my taste, a more successful adaptation than Donner's The Caretaker (The Guest). Friedkin just seems to have had an instinct for how a movie can be confined mostly to one room and still be cinematic, against Donner's sometimes superficial and counterproductive opening of the play. And he has a good sense of colour. Since Pinter is slow paced and frustrates the normal expectations and satisfactions of dialogue and plot, a little visual pleasure is welcome relief ("sugaring the pill").

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A man stayed-put
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#78 Post by A man stayed-put » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:23 am

Detective Story.
This forum comes through again with a great recommendation (particularly Domino’s championing of it). Gripping and expertly played by a wonderful ensemble (despite living legend status Douglas still feels underrated, he's fantastic here) I found myself forgiving it a few plot points that stretch credulity. Although I am interested if the major twist, if it can be called that, almost spoiled the film for anyone else? It’s such a huge coincidence none of the characters seem to buy it either.

Random observations (vague spoilers)-
The deep focus photography, through doors and windows works beautifully to open the film up and there’s an interesting tripling effect going on for much of the film- floors of the station, planes of vision, alignment of actors in the frame (one sequence with three concurrent phone calls stands out).
SpoilerShow
Between this and Ace in the Hole, Douglas must have had a special clause in his contract in 51 that dictated he exit his pictures face first.
Lee Grant is superb in this, her debut. She'd only make three more pictures in the 50's. Fuck HUAC.
SpoilerShow
There's a great bit of foreshadowing around the half hour mark when McLeod casually removes his gun from his holster and pockets it when going to speak to 'Charlie'.

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Red Screamer
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#79 Post by Red Screamer » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:15 pm

Angels in America (Mike Nichols, 2003)
Uneven, often brilliant. I don’t know if any staging could do justice to the word-drunk poetics and mixed surrealism on Kushner’s page (I'd only ever read it before this), but it’s too good of a play not to get somewhere with this kind of cast. Shenkman, Kirk, and Wright are perfect; Pacino is great and unpredictable, overacting and understated at the same time, never even touching the beats you’d expect him to; Streep is great in exactly the way you think she’d be, and isn’t any less moving for it (though I'm with knives, the multiple characters gimmick would work better on stage); Mary Louise Parker nails an impossible character but her regular scene partner, Patrick Wilson—miscast as Joe, too superficial—is a dud.

The sentimental music sucks, the visual effects never find the right balance of tacky and visionary, and, worst of all, Thompson’s angel completely misfires and the production’s entire conception of her is so confused that her flat-footed performance probably couldn’t be helped. But the heart of the play, at least without a believable Joe, is in the sparring between Belize/Roy and Prior/Louis and when it goes there (as well as the dizzying Cocteau dream sequence) it soars. Worth seeing, but I'd recommend reading the play first.

Not I (Samuel Beckett & Anthony Page, 1973)
Not much to say about this hypnotizing film of Beckett's short play except watch it.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#80 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:36 pm

Well I’ve just seen Dutchman and I doubt if I’ve ever seen a more intense limited character chamber piece. While this is a film about social engagement across racial lines, Freeman is a tempered presence to comfortably convey any audience surrogate to the situation he finds himself forced into - and this kind of menace isn’t specific in an era of fears around sexualized weaponry. This feels like Pinter on steroids, and the claustrophobic intimacy we’re forced into with Knight’s unpredictable histrionic nightmare-personified is so entrancing and anxiety-provoking it reaches new levels for this idea. The medium of film is used well to push us into physical traps to signify the psychological ones. Knight gives one of the best, loudest performances I’ve ever seen in my life, and I recognize the hyperbole but it simply is. She uses her skills at exhibiting sexuality to exploit our own arousal levels throughout her seesawing insanity, and that’s not an easy thing to do to both excite and terrorize interchangeably. Actresses have tried to do this tirelessly over the years but never has one perf struck the polar extremes so masterfully so that we reach our breaking point right with Freeman after being helplessly seduced against our will. The characters remain mysteries in a daring authentic act so that all we get is our own psyches flaring up in a flood of provocative social discomfort. This isn’t my favorite film that is a theatre adaptation but it’s one of the best uses of the medium to capture the strengths of a theatre adaptation, and certainly the best social horror. This is 54 minutes but if it had been a minute longer my heart may have exploded.

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domino harvey
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#81 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:42 pm

Never prouder of one of my students than when he remembered/realized that Masculin feminin quoted the film after our screening!

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#82 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:07 pm

Sweet Bird of Youth is yet another great Tennessee Williams adaptation that doesn't hold back on the perversity. This one is particularly revealing, from the incredibly descriptive drug use to grimy characterization and brutal behavior, refreshing coming from Brooks who played things pretty safe in his prior adaptation (though it's hard not to imagine what Kazan would have done with it, having directed the initial Broadway run, on top of the best film version of Williams' tonal brand via wild exhibitionism). The Broadway cast members are great, and Knight is fantastic in her early face-off with her father, though Begley steals the show as the two-faced patriarchal community leader who is capable of transitioning from pleasantly composed to violently erratic like a bolt of lightning.

The thematic use of the 'public' is well-established as a deceptively "safe" space where Newman can be valued, Cristian morals can be upheld, Begley and his family can thrive, Page can succeed, etc. -or maybe it is safe, but not in the way intended. This is an area where lies can hide, and dreams can come true only in the facade of the mind's misperception of the public's place on a pedestal. The truth is the disease that physically scarred Knight and figuratively scarred her family, Begley's harmful individualism masked as ideological collectivism in family values, and the depressing fatalism that marks Newman and Page. The detailed orchestration of the brilliant mechanics in the play build to a very satisfying final act. Particularly the gesture of Newman encouraging Page to take the phone presents a stripped-down, uncomfortable reflection of perhaps every 'altruistic' act of support- helping another to serve oneself. This would all feel too simple if it weren't for the clear audacity in showing a far more complex reading on the actions we make than our sugarcoating selfless preaching indicates. Williams frequently calls humanity on its hypocrisy and falsehoods in exposing systemic functioning as stained with poisonous ingredients, but here it's done in the subtlest of expressions.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#83 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:54 pm

The Children’s Hour: I don't think I've been so angry watching a movie in a long time. Karen Balkin as Mary is the extreme example of conduct disorder in childhood, when natural egocentrism neglects empathy or external consequence. Similar explorations of doubt have been done better in other plays (including Doubt) yet I appreciated how the infection of neuroses spread and was interpreted based on each subject's realization of isolation and powerlessness. Hepburn's late interaction with Gardner is the best part, because the notion of 'belief' is placed on a pedestal that can never be validated enough within the limitations of each's scope of perspective to their comfort. The 50s surface-level conceptions of identity are shattered by the lie that comes to a boil when not even MacLaine can decipher her own sexuality. The theory that people were navigating this sense of self without the available tools is put to the test here, and the result is as tragic as one could only expect given that understanding of the callous and rigidly restricted atmosphere.

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knives
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#84 Post by knives » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:25 pm

Have you seen Wyler's earlier straight adaptation, versus this straight adaptation (I just love fun with words)? I actually find it to be a far better film.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#85 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:39 pm

Nah I haven't- the original content hits the right spot for me in dissecting psychosocial unravellings with taboo 'realizations' - especially in the end where they (potentially mis?)translate gut feelings through inevitably subjective readings, caving in identities where all holds on life crumble- that I can't see a heterosexual love triangle playing as well with the same dialogue, at least not to the parts that move me. I'll probably get around to it someday to compare, but I'd be curious to hear a defense on how it bests this one for motivation to overcome my doubts.

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knives
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#86 Post by knives » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:07 am

Part of it is just a baseline quality thing. The gay version is hampered by having to be coy and struggling on how to speak clearly whereas the reworking has a greater openness The allows the film to be more eleoquent. Additionally Wyler and his writers just had the time to clean up a lot of the more general weaknesses in the writing for a punchier story.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#87 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:48 pm

Not a first-time watch, but in catching up on some theatre adaptations I felt compelled to revisit American Buffalo, which is just as terrific as always. Knowing how the action unfolds without a specific didactic direction or thematic reveal to distract from the action, my attention was focused on how these three wildly different personalities interacted in each scene. They may appear to speak the same language but the small secrets or stresses each harbors erupt with a sense of confusion even for the characters who try to maintain composure. It's a great exposition on internal chaos becoming externalized among principle characters who are not aware of their systemic tension, ironically directing ill feelings toward each other when the plan is to work together to commit an act or harm directed at an outside institution.

The actors bring their own distinct temperaments and social styles to the characters, with Franz relatively patient and calm even when being skeptically observant and confrontational, Hoffman a more erratically confrontational, weaselly loser, and Sean Nelson steals scenes as a good-natured apprentice, wanting to please and quietly holding onto his own information out of fear, rooted in affection. The way each hides their own valid reasons defies any moral posturing or even a clear message on effectiveness. There's nothing to learn here, just a presentation of how we interpret, misinterpret, and ultimately lose based on our limited communication skills, due to individualized reasons- conscious and not. Simplified, it's a portrait of personalities clashing, humbly portrayed without the attention straying into loud theatrics or blinding greed for all. Instead, the mistrust is what elicits the fight/flight response, and even that is played with a desperation that feels honest in its development, suppressing impulses for as long as possible as characters try to hold onto their default ego functions (whether composed confronter, wild explosive, or resigned loyal type) and resist or succumb to those animal urges as they wrestle with the unknown locked away from their vantage point in the impenetrable minds and wills of other humans, quietly sparking fires.

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