Tag Archives: Adapted from a book

Dead Ringers: Mayhem, Malpractice, and Mortality

twins: dead ringers
The 1977 New York Times bestseller on which Dead Ringers is based

David Cronenberg’s movie, Dead Ringers (1988), tells the story of the malpractice and mayhem created by twin New York City doctors in the 1970s. It is also the story of vulnerable patients, brilliant practitioners who self-medicate, organizational collusion and cover-up, and untimely deaths.

All of these elements combine to take us on a journey of horror that was first widely publicized in the news, then fictionalized in Twins: Dead Ringers (Wood & Geasland, 1977), the book on which the movie is based. A New York Times bestseller, it is described on its back cover as “An authentic shocker .  .  . a novel of eerie power . . .”

How Could Dead Ringers Be Anything But a Horror Movie?

Cinema, in its long history, has often paired themes of medicine with the horror genre—the mad scientist, experiments gone awry, perverse caregivers, frightening instruments, Continue reading Dead Ringers: Mayhem, Malpractice, and Mortality

Mrs. Bridge is Changing with 21st Century Values

Show me a “first world” country and I will show you a Mrs. Bridge — one of the title characters in this month’s movie, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). First world countries offer capitalism, industrialization, and technological innovation as gravy trains that carry opportunity far and wide, thus creating a robust middle class. For Mrs. Bridge and other women of her time, “paternalistic” was another societal attribute that helped to create her particular middle-class status. Continue reading Mrs. Bridge is Changing with 21st Century Values

Metalious’ Peyton Place Shatters Illusions of 1950s

Through the decades of the 1940s and 1950s in America, societal monotony with its binary vision and easy moral choices began to change into a complex and uncomfortable nation of people, thanks in part to a revolutionary foray into areas of literary taboo in movies and in books such as Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place (1956).

In the early 1940s, America needed women in the workforce, with her men overseas fighting Nazi and Fascist regimes. Continue reading Metalious’ Peyton Place Shatters Illusions of 1950s

Their Finest: Lissa Evans Celebrates Ealing Studios’ Propaganda Filmmaker

Ordinary people are capable of the extraordinary. British author Lissa Evans believed that with her heart and soul and set out to prove it by creating her own piece of greatness. The road to achievement is often paved with books; and Lissa, an avid reader, navigated her own course.

Evan’s book, The Finest Hour and a Half, from which this month’s movie is adapted, puts the reader in London as the winds of war are howling from Germany. All cinemas are closed in 1939 as Londoners brace themselves for an onslaught of attacks from across the Channel. Continue reading Their Finest: Lissa Evans Celebrates Ealing Studios’ Propaganda Filmmaker

Evil Nurse Ratched

Let me just say this first — Jack Nicholson’s performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is absolutely mesmerizing. His astonishing portrayal of R.P. McMurphy is a reason One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest stays with you long afterwards.

Nurse Ratched, the character that actress Louise Fletcher made bigger than the movie itself, is another reason this movie stays long in your mind. I knew Nurse Ratched Continue reading Evil Nurse Ratched

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Crimes of Insanity

Was the film a metaphor about society? . . . To which Forman replies, it was more ‘a metaphor for any kind of modern society today,’ as it revealed ‘how far has the power the right to crush an individual who is questioning the rules.’
—Paul Gallagher, Dangerous Minds

Do we call them “crimes of insanity” when we associate crimes involving illegal drug use with criminal behavior? Does anyone ever think about One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and associate that movie with the American ’60s counterculture?

Ken Kesey, author of the novel from which the movie was adapted (1963) , was a Stanford student and an acid-head during the days of Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock. Would knowing that change your perspective on what he communicated? .  .  .  or why? Continue reading One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Crimes of Insanity

Steven Soderbergh: Another Steven in Hollywood

Steven Soderbergh, director of this month’s movie, Behind the Candelabra (2013), can boast an impressive resume. He has spun out movie-making magic with Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), Traffic (2000), the Ocean’s Eleven series (2001), and Magic Mike (2012). His movie Erin Brockovich (2000) won him a much-deserved Oscar.

Yet, he is not the best-known Steven in the movie-making business. Soderbergh’s inspiration came through his serious exposure to movies from his movie-buff father, coupled with an awe-inspired viewing of Jaws (1975) — directed by Steven Spielberg. Continue reading Steven Soderbergh: Another Steven in Hollywood

Liberace: Staying in the Spotlight

Entertainers, musicians, movies, and all popular cultural items come and go, but some manage to keep their profiles high across multiple generations:  Elvis, The Beatles, Star Wars are examples among many.  It is a safe bet that our great-great grandchildren will be reading books on a certain boy wizard named Harry.

While these cultural icons survive the test of time, there are those that belong to only the generation that first embraced them. Liberace — American pianist, singer, and actor — is clearly one of those. Continue reading Liberace: Staying in the Spotlight

Gender Differences: Why the Sudden Concern?

Gender differences are suddenly a front-burner concern for citizens of Mississippi, North Carolina, and Georgia — possibly frightened because of the Supreme Court decision last year that gave same-sex couples the right to marry  (Liptak, 2015). Their particular concerns about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have led to passing laws that have drawn reactions nationwide (Mele, 2016), Continue reading Gender Differences: Why the Sudden Concern?