Get A Clue!!!

Ashley Peldon as Turtle Wexler. © Child

You’ve heard it before. I’m a big…no, huge fan of Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game. Couple nights ago, I watched the movie made after the book. First, I was not convinced…Judging just by the box for the DVD, you’d say the same…

But, boy was I surprised! The movie was good. No, great. Unfortunately, despite the book’s greatness in storytelling, some things were changed to make it more movie-like. Some of the differences are below:

Book Movie
  • Sixteen Heirs—eight pairs—are matched
  • Only about five pairs—ten heirs—are made.
  • Angela is engaged to Denton Deere
  • Angela is engaged to Edgar J. Plum (Denton Deere only gets about minute’s screen time)
  • Mr. Hoo is married
  • Mrs. Hoo, his caricature of a Chinese bride, is nowhere in sight.
  • Turtle is paired with Flora Baumbach
  • Flora doesn’t exist; Turtle gets stuck with Chris Theodorakis (Read on)
  • Chris Theodorakis is a sufferer or palsy paired with Denton Deere (See Above)
  • Chris simply stutters, and is paired with Turtle.
  • The book, if made into a movie, would’ve been like three hours long, with an insanely huge cast.
  • Only 96 minutes, only twentyish characters. Shortened up nicely for Americans. 🙂

As bookish’s (I would say bookie—like foodie—but that carries bad connotations), we can get flustered when a movie isn’t just like the book. I’m planning on seeing the Adventures of Tintin when it’s released here in America, and I imagine I’ll probably find myself saying things like,

“Oh come on!!!”

“That wasn’t in the book…”

“Hergé never even hinted at anything like that!!!”

“Where did that character come from, a cheap employment agency?”

But when it comes to the Westing Game, it still carries over some of Raskin’s spirit. Ashley Peldon made a nice Turtle Wexler, and Sally Kirkland did a great job portraying the eccentric Sydelle Pulaski.

Like the book, the movie focused on the characters and their interactions, rather than gimmicky props and concepts—perhaps that’s why I didn’t mind the differences so much.

Perhaps that’s why I like the Westing Game so much, because in the end, more than the Westing Windfall, more than the Sunset Towers and its luxury, the story is all about the people.

Have you been peeved to the point of tears and violence when you watched a movie that in no way followed the book? Conversely, has a movie ever made the story better than the author did?

P.S. By the way, iMDB—If I had my way, the Westing Game would NOT be classified as a horror movie. Just sayin’.


4 thoughts on “Get A Clue!!!

  1. Oh, nostalgia! — I made a compare/contrast list like this for the “Pollyanna” novel (by Eleanor H. Porter) and movie (starring Hayley Mills), once upon a good dozen years ago. Mom said it didn’t count as a legit book report. (Reading books: Easy for me. Writing books: Getting easier. Writing about books I’ve read: Always been a struggle.)

    Peeved to the point of tears and violence… that sounds like me and the “Percy Jackson” movie. It just felt so beyond movie-fied (i.e., glitzed up and dumbed down), only worse, because they didn’t even leave in a huge element of the books that would have left them open to make a bunch of sequels! It’s like they didn’t even *want* to rake in the cash, just to insult my sensibilities and give me a psychological headache from which I’ve yet to recover!

    *glances over to Twitter bar* You tweeted about my publication!? Aw-w-w! Like I didn’t already love you! ❤

    • Yes, book reports have never been a fun subject for me either. It sort of zaps all the creativity out of you. :p Ecgh. There were more points, but I didn’t want to bore my readers.

      That’s just awful!!! Glitzed-up and dumbed-down would be a good way of describing moviefication.

      Of course I tweeted, it’s big news! You don’t have a twitter, do you?

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