Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

TV to Hollywood and back again is making a comeback with The Stand

There are reports of Stephen King's end of the world opus The Stand being made into a major league Hollywood film and the reaction from fans is mixed,to say the least.

The book,originally released in the late seventies and re-released in an expanded edition in 1990,is one of the longer titles that King has written so when it was made into an ABC miniseries in 1994,that format seemed like a good fit for this epic story.

Granted,the production did have several limitations upon it, partly due to having to conform to the acceptable content guidelines placed upon network television. While it was at times a bit campy,that TV version of The Stand did have it's moments of glory as well. It could've benefited from having fewer celebs in the cast but at least the story have enough canvas to spread it's story telling wings upon:

Oddly enough,a reverse of this adaptation game occurred with another iconic King classic. In 2002,a made for TV remake of Carrie was aired as a possible launching point for a series(in this version,Carrie survived at the end and hit the road with the help of frenemy Sue Snell). Since this worked for The Dead Zone,this was not a wholly bad idea.

The show wasn't greenlit,however,due to poor ratings for the film. Most likely this movie,which appears to follow more closely to the novel's original investigation into the tragic events format,was haunted by the memories of the 1976 major motion picture version that played a large part in making Stephen King the pop culture magnet he has become. Perhaps,that was for the best in this case:

There are some stories that have been told in more ways than one,particularly when they're in the public domain. The works of Jane Austen have had their fair share of big and small screen adaptations,with each bearing a strong support system from the devoted and room for plenty of debate upon the merits and minuses that film has.

No one can deny,however,the impact of the 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries Pride and Prejudice ,which is credited with setting off a huge wave of renewed interest in Austen.

Not only did this film showcase the talents of screenwriter Andrew Davies,it also made Colin Firth an international leading man and his amiable counterpart Jennifer Ehle the definitive Elizabeth Bennet in the eyes of many. Most of the fuss regarding the most recent Hollywood remake of P&P was about Keira Knightley not being the best choice to be Lizzie. I had no problem with that myself,but do admit that Ehle comes to mind whenever I do think about that character:

Yet,the spirit of transferring a tale from one medium to another also extends to cable TV. This spring,HBO offers us a five part miniseries of Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet in the title role that won Joan Crawford an Oscar back in the day.

While Winslet will have to suffer comparisons with Crawford here,the strength of this series lies in the fact that this time around,the original plot line of James M. Cain's novel will be adhered to. The Crawford version is old school noir,no doubt about it,but be prepared to see something completely different with this millennial model of Mildred Pierce,folks:

In the end,what really matters is presenting the story in the best manner possible. Big,small or computer screen, it is the tale not he who told it,to paraphrase a line from a Stephen King story.

Even with a low budget,a great story can be told well,altho it doesn't hurt to have a reasonably decent production value either. Guess the proof will be in the pop culture pudding whether or not the audience will be truly satisfied:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

The Stand is one of my favorite books period and one of my most re-read ones too. I was never all that crazy about the movie though I do like it. I'm definitely curious to see what Hollywood can do with it today. There's several of King's movies that could use a revamp actually. That new Carrie version isn't one of them. It doesn't look very good