Isn’t it the sad truth for book lovers that whenever the powers that be decide to take one of your favorite books and run it through the celluloid engine, they inevitably skrimp on substance? As both a self-proclaimed bibliophile and avid cinephile, this fact is one of the most heart-wrending banes of my existence. There are two happy exceptions. Harper Lee’s magnum opus and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird and Stephen King’s short story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.”
Horton Foote’s screenplay of the 1962 Universal production of To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham, was able to deftly carry all of the familial love and political turmoil of racial tension in the South from page to screen. This miraculous leap even garnered the film 3 Academy Awards.
Frank Darabont both wrote the screenplay for and directed The Shawshank Redemption, which he adapted from Stephen King’s short story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” originally published in King’s 1982 collection entitled Different Seasons. The film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning none. Even though the movie was essentially snubbed at both the box office and by Oscar voters, thanks to movie lovers it has become an American classic.
Feel free to share your exceptions in the comments below.