Sunday, May 9, 2010

Needed Adaptations. St. John's Eve by Nikolai Gogol

I will say that I love Nikolai Gogol's master novel, Dead Souls, as much or more than the next guy. Believe me when I say that it is one of my favorite novels. I have called Gogol the Russian Dickens, which seems fitting since they were breaking conventions of the novel and story-telling in general at the same time in their respective nations. As much as I love Dead Souls, however, I also admit the near impossibility to adapt a novel that was supposed to have three sections and ends abruptly 3/4 of the way through the second part after missing significant portions of text in the second part to begin with. To adapt the novel a filmmaker would have to be brazen enough to write portions of missing text and create an ending...or just give their audience an ending as or more open-ended as the Coen's No Country for Old Men.

Nikolai Gogol, however, wrote more than just the one master novel. He wrote several plays and a lot of wonderful short stories. The one that sticks out to most literati-types is "The Overcoat," as it may be a truly pivotal point in the history of Russian Literature; however, I think that it would make for an interesting short story, but a lackluster feature. I think that, as his shorts go, that "St. John's Eve" would be a very adaptable piece that would be very entertaining and, if done right, quite horrifying.

"St. John's Eve" tells the tale of a man who makes a deal with the Devil for fame and all that ensues. The plot is simple and maybe doesn't sound like a lot in synopsis form. But believe me when I say that its the work of a master and if it was ever made into a film, if it was done right it would be a great film. Gogol has other stories that could make great movies, but I'll leave it there for now.

*Please share insights or suggestions in the comments section. I will be glad to consider them or discuss them with anyone who shares. Book suggestions? Have I missed a film? Please share.*

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