I looked at the movie Legends of the Fall this weekend. I know. I know. It came out a long time ago, but this was my time to take in every line like sipping on a cool soda. I thought, “Wow!” This is every writer’s dream to have his or her work understood, selected, magnified and displayed on the big screen.
I immediately started researching information about the author, Jim Harrison. I saw that he passed earlier this year and had written this novella in 1979. It covered over 50 years of the lives of one Montana family. He was fortunate enough to work with the director Edward Zwick to get it right. The movie won an Oscar for Cinematography and was nominated for three other Academy Awards.
The result was undoubtedly a masterpiece. Together, the director and writer combined their visions and this epic tale was simply awesome. The cast was also well-chosen for this lengthy and powerful piece. Jim Harrison was indeed blessed to have lived and enjoyed the fruits of his labors during his lifetime. Unfortunately, many artists do not get that honor.
Most writers have a story to tell but it is truly a wondrous event when a film crew decides to take on their work. Novels have often been used as springboards for showcasing memorable movies. Sometimes the writers get the credit they deserve but oftentimes, they do not. Jim Harrison had to be pleased to see his work on the big screen knowing that he helped to write the screenplay.
I can think of a few wonderful movies that were based on great books. The list is endless, but here is a short list:
- Legends of the Fall– Jim Harrison
- The Color Purple– Alice Walker
- Gone with the Wind– Margaret Mitchell
- For Whom the Bell Tolls– Ernest Hemingway
- Waiting to Exhale– Terry McMillan
- Matilda– Roald Dahl
- Dr. Zhivago– Boris Pasternak
- The Thorn Birds– Colleen McCullough
The magic begins when a writer puts pen to paper and publishes a book that is picked up by a cinematographer who reads it and says, “Aha!”
Lynn M. September 6, 2016