Fearful Symmetry

Film. Books. Comics. TV. Music.

Short pass – from short stories to films with Roller Ball Murder

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Inspired by Mark Kermode’s video blog post Do Short Stories Make Great Films?* I tracked down ‘Roller Ball Murder‘ by William Harrison, the short story that inspired the film Rollerball. It’s pretty nifty. Interesting to see how much of it made it to the film.

And here’s the trailer, a reminder that I need to re-watch the film again real soon. Jon-na-than! Jon-na-than!

*and yes, short stories often do make the best films. I’d argue it’s much easier to expand on a story without ruining the essence on it, a problem you often get when you slash a novel down to size. A film’s got about 100 mins of material, a short story might take you half an hour or so to read/act out – easy to add a bit of action and a sub-plot or two to bring it up to the hour and forty minute film-length sweet spot. A novel will have many hours of material and novel adaptations work much better as multi-part or mini-series.

Kermode brings up Stephen King and I’d agree that the adaptations of his short stories are much better than his film. But I’d actually argue that a lot of that is down to the fact that, on average, his short stories just being better than his often rambling, plotless, cop-out ending novels. Of course there are exceptions like Misery or Carrie but it’s interesing that one of the best adaptaions of one of his novels that I’ve seen was a mini-series… hang on I think there’s something at the window…


Written by Fearful Symmetry

June 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm

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