You may have seen the stories on the big screen, but what about the classic novels that came before them? Read on to discover the books that have inspired some of the most famous films and TV shows ever created.
Doctor Dolittle first came to life in the illustrated letters Hugh Lofting wrote to his children from the trenches of WW1. His charming and hilarious tale has been a childhood favourite ever since and is being given a Hollywood makeover for 2020, 100 years after it’s first publication, with a star-studded cast featuring Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Selena Gomez and more.
Henry James’ eerie novella, The Turn of the Screw, is soon to be transformed into a modern supernatural horror by none other than Steven Spielberg. Featuring Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard and Brooklyn Prince from The Florida Project, you are in good hands for the fright of your life.
The Secret Garden
When Mary is sent to live with an uncle she’s never met she becomes captivated by a locked garden. Let the producers of Harry Potter transport you to a world of imagination with the help of Colin Firth and Julie Walters in this magical children’s favourite.
Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild is a heart-wrenching adventure novel that follows Buck, a powerful St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd dog, from his happy life in the Canadian valleys to becoming a sled dog in Alaska. Micheal Green, writer of Blade Runner 2049 and Logan, brings this classic story to a fresh audience in his film adaptation starring Harrison Ford.
The ultimate gothic novel is being transformed into a three-part BBC series by none other than Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the creators of Sherlock. Prepare for Transylvania, Count Dracula and vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing to be brought to life in terrifying detail this autumn.
The Durrells, ITV's hit comedy-drama about the lives of the dysfunctional Durrell family is based on the famous memoirs, written by conservationist Gerald Durrell. His first memoir, My Family and Other Animals, has been constantly in print since it was first published by Penguin Books in 1956.
The African Queen
This 50s adventure film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn is deemed ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’ by the US Library of Congress and, just as importantly, holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If the film is regarded with such success, imagine how remarkable C. S. Forester’s original novel is.
The War of the Worlds
Steven Spielberg adapted this sci-fi spectacle in 2005 to critical acclaim, but it was more than a hundred years earlier that genius author H.G. Wells came up with the ‘crippled and monstrous’ aliens who would invade our earth. Read Wells’ original story before a new TV adaptation comes to BBC One later in the year.
Francis Ford Coppola’s epic war film, Apocalypse Now, was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s classic adventure story 'Heart of Darkness'. Coppola swapped Conrad’s 19th century Congo setting for the Vietnam War – you’ll be amazed at the stark comparison between the two.
This true story about Joy and George Adamson raising a lioness in Kenya won two Academy awards, a Golden Globe and a Grammy following its big screen release in 1966. The book, written by Joy herself, is an inspirational and enchanting account of her life with Elsa the lioness.
The Great Gatsby
You’re bound to have seen Baz Luhrmann’s stunning adaptation starring Leonardo Dicaprio, or the award-winning 1974 film starring Robert Redford, but have you read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s equally unforgettable novel, which is packed with the same dazzling characters and gorgeous 1920’s setting?
In 1940 Disney produced their second ever feature length cartoon, Pinocchio. The story of a young puppet who wants to be a ‘real boy’, on which the film was based, was created by Italian author Carlo Collodi, and first published in 1883.
Disney adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate story Treasure Island into the film Treasure Planet with stunning animation, fast forwarding the story few hundred years to be set in space. The original Stevenson story is beautifully written and just as magical, imaginative and heartwarming.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes brought this musical children’s adventure to life on screen, but you might be surprised to hear who penned the story of the Pott children’s adventures with the flying car. It was none other than the author of the original James Bond novels, Ian Fleming.
The Third Man
Graham Greene was asked to adapt his Vienna-set crime novel for film by British film director, Carol Reed, with the adaptation starring Orson Welles in the lead role as Harry Lime. Read 'The Third Man', along with more of Greene’s writing, in the Macmillan Collector’s Library edition.
The Railway Children
The adventures of the Waterbury children are best known by some from the 70s British teatime drama, but they were originally brought to life by author E. Nesbit, who also wrote children’s classic, Five Children and It.
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