AVForums Movies Podcast: Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse – How do you turn a book into a good movie?

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
This month we watch the new Tom Clancy political intrigue thriller from Amazon, Without Remorse and discuss exactly what makes a good adaptation from page to screen. We also find out your opinions on the best and worst examples of films based on books. PLUS a podcast exclusive competition.

00:00:00 - Start
00:00:25 - Welcome & catchup
00:06:55 - Competitions
00:09:58 - Tom Clancy's Without Remorse deep dive review
00:37:55 - Best and worst book adaptations
01:03:39 - Coming soon recommendations
01:14:40 - Podcast competition (ends May 19, 2021)

Presented by Tom Davies with Cas Harlow and Simon Crust

These links will be live following the live stream on Tuesday evening

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Evinger

Distinguished Member
Thanks again Guys. Really enjoyed this & was happy to watch & Listen Live for once!
 

Makemebad1978

Active Member
I quite enjoyed Without Remorse, though i know absolutely nothing about Tom Clancy and never read any of the books
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Great show chaps. On the subject of adaptations, the run of nineties Elmore Leonard films were incredible. Scott Frank's scripts for Get Shorty and Out of Sight and Tarantino's Jackie Brown (all produced through Danny DeVtio's Jersey Films) were an absolute masterclass in persevering the characters and dialogue but streamlining the plot so that it can fit into the two hour runtime with a three act structure.

LA Confidential is another great example because, as James Elroy likes to say, the novel was unadaptable. Using only the characters and the two thin threads of plot (the Night Owl Massacre and Bloody Christmas), Helgeland and Hanson were able to distill the spirit of Elroy's world, but still satisfying the audience. If they stuck with the novel's ending there would be a riot.
 

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
LA Confidential is another great example because, as James Elroy likes to say, the novel was unadaptable. Using only the characters and the two thin threads of plot (the Night Owl Massacre and Bloody Christmas), Helgeland and Hanson were able to distill the spirit of Elroy's world, but still satisfying the audience. If they stuck with the novel's ending there would be a riot.
I would sincerely love a long-form TV adaptation of American Tabloid / The Cold Six Thousand / Blood's a Rover. There is such great material there that I'm surprised HBO or Amazon or someone haven't snapped up the rights.
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
Great podcast as ever chaps.

In terms of Simon's point about having to distil the density of the novels plot and character, for me its also about the density of how the book has been written. Trainspotting is nigh on unreadable for me thanks to the stream of thought Scottish-ness of it all, yet the film cut through the writing style to get to the characters and the plot brilliantly.

Similarly Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose - brilliant film but I never could finish the book thanks to the navel gazing approach to spending three pages describing a door......

And finally, the daddy of them all for doing something different with the book and producing a diamond out of an absolute turd.......American Psycho. Next level adaptive work there......
 
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Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Great podcast as ever chaps.

In terms of Simon's point about having to distil the density of the novels plot and character, for me its also about the density of how the book has been written. Trainspotting is nigh on unreadable thanks to the stream of thought Scottish-ness of it all, yet the film cut through the writing style to get to the characters and the plot brilliantly.

Similarly Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose - brilliant film but I never could finish the book thanks to the navel gazing approach to spending three pages describing a door......

And finally, the daddy of them all for doing something different with the book and producing a diamond out of an absolute turd.......American Psycho. Next level adaptive work there......
Great point! American Psycho is a fantastic example of how adapt a work, but put your own themes and voice into it. Weird fact, co-writer/director Mary Harron's boyfriend during her first year at uni was Tony Blair.
 

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose
I love this book but if you think the descriptions in it are labyrinthine, definitely don't try reading Foucault's Pendulum.

(Edit: something I find quite funny about it is the maybe 25 pages spent describing how complicated the library is in its architecture before going "oh, okay, well here's a diagram anyway.")


American Psycho
I think it's a great idea - making you numb to minute detail on one subject before shocking you with the same level of detail on another. But it was SO HARD to read pages and pages of what people are wearing and the perfume they use and the jewellery they have and and and... I nearly gave up on it a couple of times.
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
I love this book but if you think the descriptions in it are labyrinthine, definitely don't try reading Foucault's Pendulum.

(Edit: something I find quite funny about it is the maybe 25 pages spent describing how complicated the library is in its architecture before going "oh, okay, well here's a diagram anyway.")



I think it's a great idea - making you numb to minute detail on one subject before shocking you with the same level of detail on another. But it was SO HARD to read pages and pages of what people are wearing and the perfume they use and the jewellery they have and and and... I nearly gave up on it a couple of time.
Oh totally agree - the writing style is of course always very deliberate and designed to add to the emotion or the thematic nature of the content. But its still very much a choice that has as much risks - LA Confidential as mentioned above (remember those great novel/VHS boxsets that WB put out in the late 90s? #goodtimes) was another book I really struggled to get through due to the style it was written in, but as a written work, the style is as much of the whole as the rest of the content.
 

Evinger

Distinguished Member
I love this book but if you think the descriptions in it are labyrinthine, definitely don't try reading Foucault's Pendulum.

(Edit: something I find quite funny about it is the maybe 25 pages spent describing how complicated the library is in its architecture before going "oh, okay, well here's a diagram anyway.")
The Name of The Rose is one of my "Sitting in the Garden in the Summer" Books - then it works for me. I read Foucault's Pendulum through to the end, & consider that a once-in-a-lifetime achievement alongside reading The Simarillion cover to cover. :D
 

MrMrH

Active Member
I agree with Tom about Sin City, and given Time magazine have Watchmen in their List of the 100 Best Novels I don't see any issues with considering them as books.
 

Deesnutz

Active Member
Great show chaps. On the subject of adaptations, the run of nineties Elmore Leonard films were incredible. Scott Frank's scripts for Get Shorty and Out of Sight and Tarantino's Jackie Brown (all produced through Danny DeVtio's Jersey Films) were an absolute masterclass in persevering the characters and dialogue but streamlining the plot so that it can fit into the two hour runtime with a three act structure.

LA Confidential is another great example because, as James Elroy likes to say, the novel was unadaptable. Using only the characters and the two thin threads of plot (the Night Owl Massacre and Bloody Christmas), Helgeland and Hanson were able to distill the spirit of Elroy's world, but still satisfying the audience. If they stuck with the novel's ending there would be a rioM
 

Deesnutz

Active Member
Great show chaps. On the subject of adaptations, the run of nineties Elmore Leonard films were incredible. Scott Frank's scripts for Get Shorty and Out of Sight and Tarantino's Jackie Brown (all produced through Danny DeVtio's Jersey Films) were an absolute masterclass in persevering the characters and dialogue but streamlining the plot so that it can fit into the two hour runtime with a three act structure.

LA Confidential is another great example because, as James Elroy likes to say, the novel was unadaptable. Using only the characters and the two thin threads of plot (the Night Owl Massacre and Bloody Christmas), Helgeland and Hanson were able to distill the spirit of Elroy's world, but still satisfying the audience. If they stuck with the novel's ending there would be a riot.
100% agree, in particular, the Elmore Leonard ones. Couldn't finish LA Confidential yet the film is one of my all time faves.
 

Fasen

Active Member
The Citizen Kane of zombie movies 😂 good one 🤘🏻
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
Not listened to this yet. It was a little bit close for comfort the other night after me watching the film, and I though the prospect of listening to rants from @Casimir Harlow and @Tom Davies might be enough to push me over the edge into a Michael Douglas Falling Down scenario.

Will have a listen over the weekend.

LA Confidential is another great example because, as James Elroy likes to say, the novel was unadaptable. Using only the characters and the two thin threads of plot (the Night Owl Massacre and Bloody Christmas), Helgeland and Hanson were able to distill the spirit of Elroy's world, but still satisfying the audience. If they stuck with the novel's ending there would be a riot.

That's a tremendous shout. LA Confidential is one of my favourite books and films ever. Just sublime stuff. I actually read the book after I'd seen the film because I was so in love. Then I fell in love even more.
 

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