March 2nd is World Book Day, and you might say the film industry owes a lot to the ever growing world of books. This incredible world of imagination and magic is constantly generating more content, like a pot of gold which keeps replenishing its supplies. Novels, memoirs, short stories and comic books provide endless inspiration to filmmakers, who mix the magic from the page with their own creative vision and build something new.
As an avid lover of both film and books, I could write a novel myself on the sole topic of page-to-screen adaptations; how some manage to get it so right, creating masterpieces, whereas some result in a sheer catastrophe, mocked by critics and audiences alike. I have learnt that statements as to which films fall into each of these categories can often ignite fierce debate among the film geeks and super fans (to which groups I wholeheartedly concede I belong).
Rather than delve into that touchy topic today, I simply want to give some love to books through film, paying homage to the scenes in which books play noteworthy role.
1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
I think we can pinpoint the moment that bookworm Belle starts truly falling for the Beast at the moment in which she discovers his breath-taking library. From the glimpse, we’ve been given, it seems the live action remake is promising to deliver a library scene just as magical. Swoon. P.S. this library is real, and it's in Vienna. Rejoice.
2. The Breakfast Club (1985)
OK, so the books in this film don’t feature as something the characters are interested in as such (Bender even takes to ripping the pages out of a book one by one at one point) but their school library serves as a backdrop to this iconic 80s flick, in which a group of five students serve a weekend day’s detention. Classic.
3. Funny Face (1957)
Before Audrey Hepburn’s Jo is transformed into a glamourous high fashion model in this 1957 film, she is the owner of a New York bookshop. The bookshop sets the scene for a magazine shoot to which she highly opposes and is powerless to stop, and is left in a state of utter chaos before Fred Astaire comes to help clean up.
4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
There’s no denying books play a key role in the film which holds the number one spot on IMDb’s Top 100 List. From poor old Brooks, who loves the library he cares for almost as much as he loves his pet crow Jake, to Andy building it up by appealing to the outside for book supplies, and even turning it into a learning centre for inmates who seek education they never received.
5. Notting Hill (1999)
Tell me that the scene in which Julia Roberts pours her heart out to Hugh Grant in the middle of his travel bookshop store is not one of the most iconic romantic scenes of all time and I will brand you a denier of truth. Who wouldn’t love a cute guy who owns a travel book shop on Portobello Road?!
6. 10 things I Hate About You (1999)
In which Heath Ledger tries to win back the affection of Kat, but ends up having a feminist book thrust upon him instead. Gold.
7. Harry Potter films
There are so many fabulous scenes set amongst books in the Harry Potter film franchise, but two that stand out are the first film in which Harry encounters the Restricted Section for the first time, getting a fright from a book that screams at him, and the scene from Flourish and Blotts bookstore on Diagon Alley where Harry meets the hilariously awful Gilderoy Lockhart, and evil Mr Malfoy.