Monday, October 3, 2011

The 5 Best Banned Books Turned Films

Censorship Causes Blindness: The 5 Best Banned Books Turned Films

From the Random House Publishing web site, these are "The 5 Best Banned Books Turned Films":

American Psycho by

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he'll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all of these?

It is no surprise that Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita has become one of the most challenged books of all time. By the time Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation hit theaters, five countries had already banned the book, citing obscenity. Due to the lingering sensitivities around the theme of pedophilia, Kubrick changed Lolita’s age from twelve to fourteen and cleaned up other suggestive scenes from the book. This resulted in Kubrick ultimately using only a small portion of Nabokov’s original work in the film. Almost thirty-five years after the original film, “Lolita” received a re-adaptation featuring Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain. Though many are loyal to Kubrick’s classic, we think that the modern film adaptation succeeded in being more faithful to Nabokov’s original story.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

Soon after Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange” was released, protestors started targeting Kubrick and his family with death threats, prompting him to request that Warner Brothers withdraw the British distribution. The graphic violence and rapes featured in the film did not sit well with British authorities, who banned the film after a string of copycat incidents that were inspired by the film rocked the country.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Since its publication in 1954, William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, about a group of English schoolboys stranded on a deserted island following a plane crash, has been both lauded and challenged. Though Golding won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983, many continued to challenge The Lord of the Flies for reasons ranging from profanity to violence. Parents have often been the most vocal group to oppose The Lord of the Flies, given the subject matter of civilized schoolchildren descending into savagery being taught to their children. Lord of the Flies has received two film adaptations: The first in 1963 and most recently in 1990. We are of the opinion that the original film trumps the modern adaptation, as it follows Golding’s story better by featuring a British cast, in addition to keeping with the ambiguity of the characters, making it not immediately apparent which are “good” versus “bad".

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining reproduction, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

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