Monday, February 11, 2008

Fahrenheit 451 - Moscow style. Herman Melville - Bradbury style.

The Moscow Times has published a review of a new Russian stage adaptation of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It's not clear whether this is a translation of Bradbury's own play, or a completely new adaptation. Read John Freedman's review here.

Subterranean Press, which has produced some excellent limited edition versions of Bradbury books, has announced the first book publication of Moby Dick - Ray Bradbury's original screenplay for the 1956 feature film directed by John Huston. This is an important publication, since it finally gives us a chance to see what Bradbury brought to the adaptation, without the distortions imposed by Huston, Huston's friends, and others such as Orson Welles.

Why does it matter? For at least three reasons. First, Huston grabbed co-script credit from Bradbury, and somehow managed to overturn a Writer's Guild of America ruling on script credit which had gone in Bradbury's favour. Second, because the innovations in Bradbury's version of Moby Dick are so powerful that many of them have been carried over into more recent adaptations of Melville's novel, as if Bradbury's text were superior to Melville's. Third, because (as I have argued elsewhere) Bradbury's experience on the Moby Dick project had a major influence on the next fifty years of his development as a writer: through his Irish stories and plays, his endless wrestling with the Melville tribute Leviathan '99, his novel Green Shadow, White Whale, and much else.

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