Taking a story from a book and putting it on the big screen is a process that many people have done throughout the years. In fact in the 70s as in any other decade it almost seems as though the writers of such books must have been clever, calculating, and in some cases half-mad when they were writing the stories, since some movies are hard to fathom when you think that someone had to write them. The mind of a writer is a rather chaotic place before a story takes hold, and in some cases the chaos doesn’t stop until the last word is on the page and translated onto the screen. The 70s were known for some truly innovative movies and thanks to the authors that produced these stories filmmakers had something to work with that defined a decade and made people sit up and pay attention to the creations of those that saw the world in varying ways that made life seem like a roller coaster of thrills at times.
Here are some of the best movies derived from books in the 70s.
5. Murder on the Orient Express
Some authors create a character and then stick with them throughout various stories, creating one long-running series or a number of stories that utilize the character in many different situations. Hercule Poirot is the creation of Agatha Christie and he has a distinct advantage that many other characters born of other authors do, he’s the protagonist and he’s very, very intelligent. The issue that some might have with this is that he’s a bit too smart at times and knows it, thereby making him kind of an arrogant character that relies solely on his own experience and doesn’t take into account the intelligence of anyone else. But he is an entertaining character all the same.
4. The French Connection
There was a point and time when tough guy cops were the norm and they weren’t made to account for a lot of the things they did because that was the way things got done. That’s changed throughout the years of course, but at one time a guy like Popeye was the kind of person that you didn’t want to see coming because it usually meant trouble. He was the kind of guy that was tough, unforgiving, and unapologetic when he was going about his job. But he was also the guy that got results with his hardened and old-school ways since he didn’t mess around and he didn’t always go by the book.
The part of this film that’s disturbing is also the same part that a lot of people seem to remember since after all it’s the one point in the movie in which someone seems to truly have lost everything they have, including their dignity. But if you’re the kind of person that remembers the whole film then you’ll at least think about the other moments that seem to set the tone for this movie, from the dueling banjos to the fact that the four friends do manage to get away from the hillbillies that are doing their best to demoralize one of their own. The movie was disturbing, of that there’s no doubt, but it’s also been lauded as one of the best of all time by many people.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
You’ve got to wonder just how messed up in the head a character needs to be to actually want o go into a psychiatric ward. Of course the main character was trying to get out of doing hard labor, so it was a kind of trade off that he was thinking about. But the downside of this was Nurse Ratched, who had to be one of the meanest movie nurses that’s ever been written into existence. The fact that she’s so inherently nasty only makes the efforts of the main character stand out as heroic since she’s the type of person that seems to revel in the fact that she lords over the ward. By the end she’s got her revenge on the main character, but she’s also paid a bit of a price for it.
1. A Clockwork Orange
The ability to cure violent tendencies in those that seem to revel in them seems like a fairy tale that we tell ourselves until it becomes the quest of some to make it a reality. The only problem with this is that the ability to stem the violent nature of anyone seems to also indicate that it’s possible to stifle free will. Some folks are violent, there’s no doubt in that, but free will is not something that can go untouched when attempting to curb a person’s other tendencies. Some might argue that point, but at the same time it’s hard to argue that parts of one’s personality can simply be excised like cancerous tissue.
It’s easy to think that the movies we see were simply imaginings of those that made them, but keep in mind that a lot of them started as books that one writer or another might have never expected to see on the big screen.