Posted by: chartroose | November 14, 2008

Book to Movie Giveaway #1 — The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

(This is now one of Doprah’s picks.  Drats!)

As you know, I’m always thinking of new giveaways.  I think I concoct them more for my own entertainment than for the pleasure of my readers.  It makes me feel good to share my enthusiasm for particular books and authors with all of you, and since I know most of you aren’t going to rush to the nearest used bookstore to buy one of my favorite old titles, I’ve decided to send some of my favorites your way.  This is one of those times.

I got this idea from Care over at Care’s Online Book Club.  She read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and then watched the movie.  I have the feeling that she enjoyed the movie a little bit more than the book, and I think I did too–just a teeny little bit.  I believe it’s pretty rare to like a movie as well or better than the book it was adapted from, since books capture your imagination while films depict the screenwriter and director’s imaginations.  Sometimes movie folks understand a novel so completely and love the story so much that they do a wonderful job on the film.  A good example of this is To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s so amazingly well done that I still have a crush on Gregory Peck.  We were going to be married–I decided this when I was a young girl.  (This might sound kind of creepy, but I also had a thing for Robert Duvall.  He was so vulnerable and sad and sweet, and I believe those qualities appeal to girls of all ages).

Jeez, there’s nothing like going off on a tangent, is there?  Now, back to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The film is brilliant, and the acting is some of the best I’ve ever seen.  Every actor is suberb.  Alan Arkin won the New York Film Critics Award for his depiction of Mr. Singer, and both Arkin and Sondra Locke were nominated for Oscars.  Stacy Keach was also great in his debut role as Blount, a lonely alcoholic who befriends Mr. Singer.  Cicely Tyson excelled in her screen debut as well.  I developed a little crush on Arkin when I saw this, due to the aforementioned sadness and sweetness quotient.  It seems I’ve always been a sucker for unhappy men, much to my regret.  Another digression!  Good God!

So anyway, are you interested in entering this giveaway?  You should be!  The DVD is brand new and was just produced this year!  I will send a used copy of the book and a new DVD to one winner.  To enter, leave a comment about a screen adaptation you’ve liked as well or better than the book it was adapted from.  This may give me ideas for later giveaways!

I’ll choose the winner on Wednesday, Nov. 19th.  Good luck!

P.S. I bought a …Heart… DVD for myself and watched it last night.  I’m glad I was alone because I wept like a little child.  I think the true measure of oncoming senility is a sharp increase in the number of times a person either: a) goes off on tangents while writing blog posts, and/or b) becomes a tear-stained mess with increasing (and increasingly embarassing) frequency.  I find myself doing both much more often than I used to.



  1. I have been wanting to read this book! THanks so much for giving it away, and the movie sounds great too!

    I really like the film adaptation of The Kite Runner! I don’t know if MORE than the book, but it is one where I think an excellent job was done. I love it when movies are made from books.

    Thanks again for this giveaway!


  2. O what a great giveaway! I haven’t read or seen this so yay!

    Hmm…it took me a while to think about this one. MORE than the book? Finally I remembered one of my favorite movies, The Last of the Mohicans which is WAY better than the book.

  3. Great giveaway. I would love to win this for my mother-in-law! I thought Forrest Gump the movie was better than Forrest Gump the book. milou2ster(at)

  4. There are very few times when I like the movie better than the book — and now I usually won’t watch a movie based on a book I love because I don’t Hollywood messing it up. But I can think of two — I loved the movie “The Natural” and hated the Bernard Malamud book it was based on. I liked the book “Like Water For Chocolate” but the movie was just a little bit better.

  5. I’ve learned over the years to accept screen adaptations as separate works, and not to compare them to their book(s) of origin.

    With that, I think the most beautiful book-to-movie was Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. The book was exquisite. I read it shortly after it was published and was so taken with Frazier’s voice that I started buying copies and sending them to friends. The movie is also gorgeous, and funny, and sad, and…well, actually, I think it’s time for me to see it again. Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, and some of the most glorious cinematography I’ve ever seen.

  6. I think one of my absolute favorite movie versions is About a Boy. I loved the book, but when I got the movie I just couldn’t stop watching it! I think they’re both excellent in their own way but the movie is just slightly better. The music really added to that one.

  7. I loved this movie when I saw it years ago. I would love to see it again, and read the book.
    I think one of the best film adaptations was the Stephen King novella Shawshank Redemption, that was made into a classic film.

  8. Never read the book,but I love this movie. If you go to my myspace page, it’s listed under my fave movies! I would love to own a copy!!!

  9. I liked the adaptation of The Chocolate War, even though things were changed from the original.

  10. ah… I feel like a pathetic stalker that I am the 9th person to comment. and you even linked to me! gawd. Anyway, I think you ‘ll appreciate this post: (btw, it took me 6 hours and I only got A-H alphabetized… So I’m going back on Monday and Tuesday. I’m taking ownership!)

    and … I forgot what else I was going to say. I think it was something about if you’re crying all the time, you might want to get your thyroid checked. but that’s a bit personal, isn’t it?

  11. Movie better than book…

    The Princess Bride.

    Action, adventure, pirates, sword fights, Miracle Max & his wife. I could go on forever.


  12. I thought the movie Deliverance was better than the book. I didn’t care for the book at all, but was knocked out by the movie!

  13. I guess I can’t enter because I truthfully do not think I’ve ever seen a movie I liked better than the book. I’m trying so hard to think of one. Maybe I’ll get back to you! But, after I’ve read the book and imagined it in my mind, no screen adaptation can match it.

  14. Like others, I find the book is almost always better than the movie, even if the movie is very, very good.

    The one exception I can think of is LA Confidential, which is my favorite cop movie–great story, great performances, great all around. The novel? Meh. Ok, I guess.

  15. Easy peasy!
    Tis actually the movie Stand By Me. My favorite movie EVER. I’ve seen it a bajillion times and I know the whole darn thing by heart.
    And um, the novella by Stephen King called ‘The Body’ was good and all, and it even had the wondrous dialogue. But the characters REALLY come alive on screen and GAH. Marvellous movie. Now that I think of it… I haven’t watched it in a while, I think I’m due.
    And also, to add to that, the soundtrack for that film is AWESOME. I have it on cassette tape, from way back when.
    I’m basically a reincarnation of someone from the 50s or something and that really comes out when I see that movie.

    To Linda: I haven’t seen that movieeeeeeeee
    I read the novella, but still haven’t gotten around to the movie. No one ever wants to watch movies with me, and I count on people wanting to so that they pay for the rental because I’m a cheap-o.

  16. I agree with you – To Kill a Mockingbird was a great adaptation. I quite liked The Princess Bride. One of your other commenters mentioned About a Boy, and I agree with that one as well! I can’t think of any others!

  17. MY favourite movie adaptation was “The English Patient”. There was the grand love story, with passion and heartbreak.; and the scenery and cinematography was truly breathtaking. I loved the book, but to me the film is glorious.

  18. I think the ‘Hannibal Rising’ movie was way better than the book. I couldn’t even finish the book. But I loved the movie.

    Please enter me (if it is international)

  19. Frequent crying over books/movies is a sign of genius, not senility. Same goes for rambling, off-topic blog posts.

    Cold Mountain. I loathed the book, but actually enjoyed the movie. Secret Life of Bees was good, too…but then, I don’t remember the book. Which is yet another sign of genius. Right?

  20. I usually loathe the movie if I like the book. The only exception I can think of is the BBC series Lovejoy – after watching that then trying to read the books it was very, very loosely based on, gah. The people who loved those books must’ve hated the series.

    Frequent tangential asides and tear stained messes are signs of a compassionate deep intellect. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  21. This is only slightly embarassing, but I had a really strong girl-crush on Carson McCullers when I was a sophomore in college. Kept that biography about her checked out all year long!

  22. I just discovered your blog. Nice work! I’ll be curious about your thoughts on Tallgrass. I haven’t read it yet; it’s on my TBR pile, but I keep passing it up for something else.

    Please do not enter me into the drawing. I’ve read the book and seen the movie — both worth every moment.

  23. There is no doubt that the second movie adaptation of “The Last of the Mohegans” starring Daniel Day Lewis is better than the rather dreadful novel by James Fenimore Cooper.

  24. I’ve always meant to pick this book and movie up and yet I never got around to doing so.

    Um, off the top of my head I liked Practical Magic, Chocolat, and both of the Disney Narnia movies as much as I liked the books but the only one I can think of that I liked more than the book is IT by Stephen King.

  25. Michael Chabon’s WONDER BOYS was better as a movie, I thought, even though I love Michael’s books.

  26. Thanks, everyone! Your suggestions will provide fodder for later giveaways!

  27. I’ve always felt that the movie of Gone With the Wind was almost as good as the book. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to feeling that way. I always enjoy the book more! I would love to see if this movie is as good as or better than the book!
    mittens0831 AT

  28. I would like to enter! I saw the movie What Dreams May Come in the theater, and it was a visually beautiful, trippy, quirky, odd movie. So I got the book. And it was a bunch of woowoo new age claptrap. Bah!

    Oh, and also I adore the movie Chocolat, but the book bored me.

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