This class was the very first class I have ever taken that really made me apply what I have learned in a more abstract way. Film adaptations of literature are what I will focus on. I will briefly describe some of my personal opinions when discussing if the films worked in regards to their literary origins.
In my opinion, the best cinematic adaptation of its literary counterpart is the 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Eliza Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play. Kazan made a good move by choosing Marlon Brando for the part of Stanley and Vivien Leigh as Blanche. These two people, in my opinion, made the movie. Although I think she overacted at some points, I believe it was necessary for Vivien Leigh to portray Blanche the way she did. I know I am basically going against everything I said during my panel discussion, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I tried to picture Blanche's role being played another way, and personally I cannot see it being done any better while still maintaining the integrity of the film. Kim Hunter, portraying Stella, also does a wonderful job adapting Williams' character to film. Because of everything I just mentioned, nearly the entire cast (except Brando) received Academy Awards.
Something happens every once in a while that probably falls under the category of a director's worst fear. That happens when a cinematic adaptation totally destroys any liking the majority of the audience may have had for the literary work in the first place. A great example of this is Joseph Losey's 1973 film, A Doll's House. Regardless if you are a Jane Fonda fan or not, it does not take too much to realize that she totally destroyed the character of Nora. Reading Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, I pictured Nora as being a very smart and witty woman. I did not see this conveyed in the least by Fonda. Personally, I think she did a horrible job of developing Nora's character, which not only ruined the movie itself, but made me think twice about the play as well.
As I hope I have clarified, there are many elements in making a cinematic adaptation complement its literary counterpart. As seen in this class several times, cinematic adaptations can be either extremely effective or extreme flops. Not too often does one see a film that is right in the middle.