The evolution of entertainment has been a slow and gradual process. Actors, singers, musicians, and other theatre folk have gone from the ancient Greek amphitheatres, to traveling outcasts in Medieval Europe, to Broadway and the mega stars we see today.
Some of the best films that have ever graced the silver screen started off as plays. Whether a comedy or tragedy, these works of art have moved generations of movie goers. Here are the top four films that are based on plays. If you are fortunate to watch all four, note the steady and gradual changes from movies that were made 50 years ago to the ones that are made today.
1. The Importance of Being Ernest (1952) – This is a classic comedy based on the Oscar Wilde novel of the same name. While there are distinct differences, this film is true to the original, with plot twists and perplexing identity crisis. The oldest film on the list, this is a great choice for a film student studying film theory as well as aspiring actors.
2. The Odd Couple (1968) – This film is as perhaps as popular or even more so than its theatre counterpart. Starring comedic geniuses Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, this film follows two roommates who are total polar opposites. What gets solved at the end of the story? That has been debated by film critics for centuries. The only thing that is for certain is that this film is comedy gold.
3. Doubt (2008) – The newest on the list, Doubt is an instant classic. This is a dark and twisting tale about the ambiguous relationship between a priest and a 12 year old student. With mind-blowing performances from award-winning mega stars Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this movie is a must-see for any serious movie lover.
4. Romeo and Juliet (Multiple)- There have been so many adaptations of this play that it just had to make the list. Whether you prefer watching Leonardo and Clara or Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, this story is a classic tale of tragic romance. Based on the work of William Shakespeare, the story follows two young lovers from two rival aristocratic families. The movie is so good that it has spawned numerous parodies, making it a cliché, almost.
Learn from the Best
What’s really interesting to see is how early film very much mimicked theatre. As films became more popular and technology more advanced, films starting to take on a life of its own. Regardless, a skilled film enthusiast can tell that a film has had influence from its theatre ancestor. It can be tricky finding these films on TV. One way to find them is to Sign up for DirecTV through www.SaveOnTVDirect.com and use the HD DVR titled the Genie to make sure you record any of these films when they air on TV.
This is a guest post and as such, may not necessarily express the views of Performing Arts San Antonio.