Filling the Void II

Article excerpt

Filling the Void II William Kittredge and Steven M. Krauzer, Stories into Film. Harper and Row, 1979. 287 pp. $5.95

The purpose of Kittredge and Krauzer's Stories into Film is to "present good short stories that became good movies. "This modest claim is exceeded in a book which distinctly fills another void in the film and literature textbook industry. That gap, of course, is the paucity of texts that collect the literary sources of major films. The only other available collection of recent memory is the Dell edition of The American Short Story (1977) based on the PBS film series of the same name. But Stories into Film far outstrips the latter with a number of attractive features for the teacher planning a film and literature course.

Though not a primary textbook, Stories into Film is a source book which seeks to "suggest some ideas about the relationship of film to literature, and to encourage the reader to pursue the topic further." The nine stories/films include Freaks, Night Bus (It Happened one Night), Stage to Lordsburg (Stagecoach), Cyclist's Raid (The Wild One), Rear Window, The Hustler, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Blow-Up, and The Sentinel (2001: A Space Odyssey). This selection of stories/films insures a desired range of genre from western to science fiction, horror to suspense, main- stream to experimental. The films are representative of a number of auteurs including Capra, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Antonioni, and Ford (two films).

In the Introduction to the text, Kittredge and Krauzer deftly outline the distinguishing characteristics of film and fiction. The authors then argue that both writers and filmmakers "affirm the same goal: each one wants to make us see consciously and humanly instead of through a haze of sociological and psychological cliches; each wants us to perceive what is real and true, what has substance. …