Filming Forster
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Filming Forster

The Challenges of Adapting E.M. Forster's Novels for the Screen
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Earl G. Ingersoll
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Filming Forster focuses upon the challenges filmmakers confronted in producing film adaptations of E. M. Forster’s fiction. Working on the principle of an interactive relationship between two equally valuable modes of storytelling, this book maintains that the film adaptation and adapted text shape the meaning of each other in a continuing process of mutual illumination.
Filming Forster focuses upon the challenges of producing film adaptations of five of E. M. Forster’s novels. Rather than follow the older comparative approach, which typically damned the film for not being “faithful” to the novel, this project explores the interactive relationship between film and novel. That relationship is implicit in the title “Filming” Forster, rather than “Forster Filmed,” which would suggest a completed process. A film adaptation forever changes the novel from which it was adapted, just as a return to the novel changes the viewer’s perceptions of the film.

Adapting Forster’s novels for the screen was postponed until well after the author’s death in 1970 because the trustees of the author’s estate fulfilled his wish that his work not be filmed. Following the appearance of David Lean’s film A Passage to India in 1984, four other film adaptations were released within seven years. Perhaps the most important was the Merchant Ivory production of Maurice, based upon Forster’s “gay” novel, published a year after his death. That film was among the first to approach same-sex relationships between men in a serious, respectful, and generally optimistic manner.
Table of Contents

The Last Epic: David Lean’s A Passage to India
A Surprising Success: Merchant Ivory’s A Room with a View
Breaking Ground: Merchant Ivory’s Maurice
Another Tuscany: Charles Sturridge’s Where Angels Fear to Tread
Handling an Icon: Merchant Ivory’s Howards End
Selected Bibliography
About the Author

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