Across the Page: From Page to Screen

 
 

The film version of The
Monkey’s Mask
was released in 2001. Directed by Samantha Lang, Kelly McGillis
stared as Diana and Susie Porter as Jill. 
While the film does a good job of capturing the mystery and setting,
much is unfortunately lost in this translation from page to screen.  Perhaps the biggest difference between the
two is that the book makes the reader feel like a participant in the sleuthing.

Kelly McGillis (left) and Susie Porter in
the film version of
The Monkey’s Mask

Porter, who died last year from breast cancer, was known for
her direct prose. The Monkey’s Mask
is written in spare verse that moves the narrative forward with dramatic
urgency. It is difficult to put the book down without wanting to read just one
more poem to discover just one more clue.

The Monkey’s Mask
is a smart, funny, dark and sexy book—an utterly unique reading experience.

The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)

The Garden of Eden, one of Ernest Hemingway’s posthumously
published novels, opens with newlyweds David and Catherine Bourne traveling
through Europe on their honeymoon.

The young couple’s
marriage is already showing signs of fissure. 
David is a writer whose recent success on his first novel is shaking
Catherine’s already fragile sense of security and reality.

As they drink and
eat their way through the Cote d’Azur, Catherine’s behavior becomes
increasingly more erratic and perplexing for David.  After getting her hair cut like a boy’s in
Aigues-Mortes, she asks David to play around with different gender roles in
bed—“Will you change and be my girl and let me take you?” 

David is a passive
character and agrees to nearly all of Catherine’s demands, including getting
his hair cut in a similar style.  And
even though he is a bit weary, he follows along when Catherine decides to pick
up another woman—the beautiful and mysterious Marita—at a local café in La
Napoule.

Marita ends up
staying with Catherine and David and soon falls in love with both. The story is
told through David’s point of view and certainly there are moments when the
reader would prefer to see what was going on in the minds and hearts of the
women characters.

This is particularly
true for Catherine. When Catherine’s jealousy finally explodes over David’s
literary success and the fact that she has to share Marita with him, she takes
drastic and dramatic actions that affect each of the characters.

Mena Suvari and Caterina Murino
in the film version of
The Garden of Eden

One of the reasons
that The Garden of Eden is so
controversial is because it was unfinished at the time of Hemingway’s
death.  The original manuscript was more
than twice as long as the published novel and included different subplots. 

In E.L. Doctorow’s New York Times review of the book, which
was released in 1986, he writes that despite the questionable editorial changes
and the ethical dilemma of publishing an unfinished manuscript, The Garden of Eden reveals a more
complex and feminine side of Hemingway:

“But the truth about
editing the work of a dead writer in such circumstances is that you can only
cut to affirm his strengths, to reiterate the strategies of style for which he
is know; whereas he himself may have been writing to transcend them.”

The film adaptation
of The Garden of Eden was release in
2008 in the UK. John Irvin directed the
picture, Jack Huston stars as David
Bourne, Mena Suvari as Catherine, and Caterina Murino as Marita.

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