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Movies as good as the books

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Posted: Monday, November 15, 2010 3:14 pm

There are many book-to-movie projects that flop.

Some work, though. Let me toss in a few of my favorite page-to-screen translations:

THE GRAPES OF WRATH: Iconic book by the brilliant John Steinbeck, turned into an exceptional movie starring a very, very young Henry Fonda. The black-and-white film has an almost documentary edge. Gritty blend of history, culture and economics.

LONESOME DOVE: A classic Western, featuring a couple of uber-cowboys who drive a herd from Texas to Montana. Larry McMurtry wrote a book that was vivid, fast-paced and full of great action and characters. The TV miniseries did it full justice, with knock-out performances by Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.  

THE GODFATHER: This was probably the first book that was so gripping I actually could not put it down. Mario Puzo's tale of mafia and family was translated seamlessly to the screen by Francis Ford Coppola. I recall waiting in a long line at a theatre in Sacramento on a hot afternoon to see this, along with thousands of others. it was worth the wait.