Turning books into movies is a risky maneuver if you want accuracy, but in the 60s simply turning books into movies was something special since it was a treat to see one’s favorite story come to the big screen. These days it’s still a treat but people have become so used to seeing things change in so many different ways that expectations are instantly lowered until it’s been proven that the filmmaker has indeed been faithful to the book. While those below suffered the same fate for the most part they were still such classics that to those of us that grew up with them it didn’t matter much since both the book and the movie versions became something that we remembered fondly throughout the years. One thing to remember is that while books are great for stimulating one’s imagination, remaining faithful to a book is likely to create a movie that’s hours and hours long if not longer. So in truth when we get a movie that was derived from a book we’re getting the most relevant parts in the eyes of the filmmaker.
Here are some of the best 60s movies derived from books.
5. The Haunting
Despite not being what you would call a box office hit, much as the remake wasn’t, this was still a creepy story as Hill House is one of the last places you might ever want to go if you knew its story. The efforts of Dr. Markway to record and observe the suspicious happenings in the house swiftly begin to break down as the incessant noises and disturbances that continue each night begin to take a serious toll on the small research team and appear to truly take a heavy toll on Eleanor, who begins to show an increasing desire to stay with the house. When Eleanor crashes into the same tree that killed the first mistress of the house it’s deduced that something had taken control of her car, and possibly her, in order to keep her with the estate.
4. Rosemary’s Baby
The message of this movie almost seems to be don’t trust your neighbors when they get too chummy and start recommending this and that. Rosemary doesn’t seem to get much choice in what happens however since first she’s drugged, then impregnated, and then lied to throughout the whole movie while coming close to death at some points. It’s a rather diabolical way to get a woman to give birth to the son of the devil but there have been other ways it’s been done too in the movies, just not quite as sneaky as this, and with so little actual blood being involved. But the smile she gives at the end is just bone-chilling.
3. Cool Hand Luke
Luke is that prisoner that just won’t be broken no matter how much the warden tries. The spirit this guy possesses is something strong enough to weather just about anything it seems, at least until it would appear that at one point he actually does break. Just when you think that he’s been beaten though Luke manages to come back and make a fool out of the warden and the bespectacled boss as well. The failure to communicate line is one of the best in movie history, but the saddening way that Luke goes out is kind of like getting a bold pail of water dumped on your head since a lot of people probably expected him to get recaptured if nothing else.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
The truth of existence is something that humanity has been wondering about for a long, long time. Entire theories, both scientific and theological, have been built up around this over the centuries and yet no one has ever found a definitive answer since it seems to elude the human mind as to just what it could be. But when a group of astronauts undertake a mission to investigate a radio signal coming from a monolith that is similar to one found on earth millions of years before the computer, HAL, attempts to thwart them from shutting it down after it tries to accomplish a directive that had been given to it prior to leaving earth.
1. To Kill A Mockingbird
Many of us likely had to read this book in school at one point and only a percentage of us probably took away what it really meant. Scout and Jem are two kids that have to receive a crash course in racism and what it takes to stand up to it in their small town as their father takes on a case trying to defend a black man from being convicted of raping a young white girl. While Atticus’ arguments are sound the unfortunate truth is that back in these days a black man was still capable of being convicted on little evidence due to being considered inferior to white people. It was a hard lesson for even a school-age child to learn, which could be why some people tried to get this book banned more than once. Thankfully however it was still kept in many schools.
Movies are great entertainment, but the lessons we can learn from books are longer lasting most times.