If I could award the laurel wreath to the best adaptation viewed in class, it would have to be Patrick Garland's 1973 version of A Doll's House. This film is well done and well cast. I think it completely captures the essence of what Henrik Ibsen wanted to present when he wrote the original play in 1879.
The film is very well done because it illustrates how Nora (Claire Bloom) is a doll trapped in the doll house of her husband, Torvald (Anthony Hopkins). Unlike Joseph Losey's cinematic adaptation, also filmed in 1973, the scenes in the Garland film are very dark and never have very many shots of Nora outside.
The house has small rooms and low ceilings, an atmosphere that reinforces the idea that Nora feels trapped in a doll's house. It also illustrates that Torvald controls her. This film is the best adaptation because it is very close to the play. It pretty much follows the entire script, and many of the words are exactly the same. The film is also very well cast, and the characters are very well portrayed. The actors in this film do an excellent job of defining personality traits for each character. Although the film is not my favorite of the semester, I do believe that it deserves the award for the best adaptation because it does a really good job of following Ibsen's plot, and it captures the feel of the original text very well.
To choose the worst film in the class for the raspberry award,I used two criteria: whether I like the film and how well the director interprets the original literary text. After much deliberation, I think the raspberry for the worst film should go to William Wyler's 1939 film version of Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontë in 1847. This film is too dark and depressing for my taste. Not even the comic relief lightens the mood of the film. I find that the film really drags in several parts. I also did not like that script writers Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur cut the book in half. They do not even touch on the really complex part of the novel concerning the second generation, which is an important part of the story. The film also could have lightened up more if the entire plot had been included. The parts of the film that drag could have been cut out, and the rest of the storyline could have been included.
Unlike the award-winning Garland's A Doll's House, Wyler's Wuthering Heights wins the worst film award in this class because it is too dark, and it is a complete disappointment after reading the novel.