Read it Before Hollywood Does

janeIt’s been a common perception for a great many years that the Hollywood movie machine can take a book and turn it into a screenplay that has little in common with the story of the original author.  Movies have been made about it!  But in most cases — whether it’s in real life or in fiction — the lure of the silver screen and the promise of $$$$$ wins out over literary virtue.

People may disagree about whether this is  a fair criticism — after all, the American film industry has made some very good adaptations of books, though the British and Europeans certainly take the prize when it comes to movie productions that are faithful to their literature.  Americans, after all, are focused on substantial profit, and investors want to produce movies that appeal to the demographics with the most money to spend at the box office.  In such an environment, the author is usually the first person to get thrown under the bus.

old manFor whatever reason, the Association of Librarians of the Czech Republic decided to target the American moviemakers and the liberties they take with literature by creating a series of posters of the covers of classic books as Hollywood would view them, with the slogan of “READ IT BEFORE HOLLYWOOD DOES”.  There are times where a picture indeed is worth a thousand words, and such is the case here.  The Jane Eyre on the cover of one book appears to have more in common with Modesty Blaise than Charlotte Brontë’s heroine.

It was a funny campaign but with a serious message.  We’d laugh a little longer if we knew it wasn’t so true.