Tuesday, December 3, 2019

What not to do with a classic

Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds album (1978)

H.G Well's famous SF novel, The War Of The Worlds, has been adapted many times: movies, TV series, radio dramas and even a music album. The most famous was the 1938 radio version narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin, and it put the wind up a few people who thought there was a real alien invasion, though the reactions were much exaggerated by the newspapers of the time as they sought to discredit radio "news".

The picture above is from one of the most strangely successful versions of all - it's an album cover from a musical double album of "Progressive Rock" produced in 1978 by an artist called Jeff Wayne. With the imperious voice of actor Richard Burton as "The Journalist", this strange idea somehow worked. It was a massive best-seller and has sold 15 million copies to date.

Other adaptations have not been so good, and the latest version - a three-part BBC series that tries to place itself in the original Victorian setting - has been overwhelmingly panned by professional critics and the public alike. A lot of this seems to be down to the Woke Politics of the screenplay, wherein the British Army is revealed to be as useless and stupid as everything else about Victorian England and the British Empire - except the ladies, who are left to take charge and kick Martian butt, ..... or something.

But my favourite review has to be this one from the IMDB website, "And early in the 21st century came the great disillusionment". If you're a fan of the book you'll recognise parts of this:
No one would have believed in the 19th year of the 21st century, that the BBC was still being watched keenly and closely by intelligences soon to be mocked and insulted. 
Men scrutinised and studied a great fictional work, alas as shallowly as a man with an iPhone might scrutinise the Mona Lisa. With infinite complacency men rewrote the fiction including extramarital little affairs and yammering on about their boring empire versus the Russians. It is possible that the incessant programmers on Netflix do the same. 
No one gave a thought to the older generation patiently forking out our license fee year after year, patiently awaiting a truly grand presentation, but thought only to dismiss the ideas of H.G Wells as impossible or improbable and downright old-fashioned. 
It is curious to comprehend some of the mental habits of those involved in this fiasco. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be a reasonable BBC adaptation of creatures coming from Mars, perhaps inferior to the novel, but still ready to welcome a quality enterprise. 
Yet across the road in White City, minds that are clearly devoid of intellect, smallscale and unsympathetic, regarded this commission with blinkered eyes, and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us.


RosscoWlg said...

My sources within the Labour Party Social Media Unit report that Uncle Sludgie and Snowie have already rung the BBC to see if the story in italics is true.....

Anonymous said...

It's called entertainment, it's fiction as opposed to history peddled by Hollywood where almost everything of historical note done by the British in WW2 suddenly become American and every failure was British.

Nice try at at trying to discredit a mainstay of the MSM though it wasn't produced by BBC.

It was BOUGHT by the BBC for ENTERTAINMENT purposes