Short Review of the Novel
Shane by Jack Schaefer
How many films are better than the book? Rebecca perhaps? Or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Undoubtedly good films but the books set the bar pretty high. In general I’m not sure that novels make good movies and comparing the film adaptation with the original book is fraught with difficulties and contradictions. I’m talking about good books here. I’m sure film makers can and have improved on many a lesser tome. I liked Love Story on screen and struggled with it in paperback form. There is a good case for saying that Peter Jackson gave a dimension to Lord of the Rings which appealed to those who didn’t much like the books (self included, but then I’d had enough of the films after episode 2). I’ll leave it there. I’ve opened the discussion and will continue it with friends and family for some time to come. I’ll state here that the movie Shane is better than the book. But then Shane is just about the best western ever made and it dazzles with visual riches. The book is pretty darned good though. And a major reason why the film is so good is that the book is so good. Most of the key scenes, moments, inferences and viewpoints are there between the covers. Like No Country For Old Men (film is good, book is better), the film parallels the book almost page for page and lasts about as long in both media. Actually the book is better than very good. It does so much and in a language entirely suited to its pulp fiction genre and audience. I was going to give it 4 stars and then I couldn’t think why I’d take a star away.
Nevertheless the film is still better.