[Milton-L] O Eve, in evil hour...

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Nov 21 17:28:06 EST 2005

diane mccolley wrote:
> I am going to admit that the idea of a film version of Paradise Lost
> horrifies me.  Images stick in people's heads and become icons that disable
> the imagination, which words leave free to re-see over and over.
> And I should think the sounds and tones of the verbal extracts would often
> need to provide a fixed interpretation of puns and nuances and ambiguities
> such as those this list so fruitfully discusses.

Usually, a literary text can be made into a decent movie if and only if
the screen-writer and director are prepared to ignore completely the
intent and thrust of the original, to regard it only as raw material to
be reshaped for their purposes. This is one of the reasons that often
the best movies made of novels are of novels which are relatively
trivial. (_Treasure of Sierra Madre_, for example, towers over the film
versions of _War and Peace_.) And what Diane notices here is the huge
role of tone (relation of author to material &/or to reader) in Paradise
Lost. A movie (or stage dramatization) would destroy that.


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