Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Last seen wearing ...

Having read the book Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter a couple of weeks ago, I decided to dig out the DVD and watch the adaptation for TV as portrayed in Morse.  The most striking thing about the TV version is that it bares very little resemblence to the book.  Just about everything has been changed - context, the characters and their lifestyles, the relationships between the characters, the storyline, the killer's identity.  It's a wonder that they even called it 'Last Seen Wearing'.  I really don't understand why the writer did this.  The book could have been adapted as is and it would have worked just as well, if not better than the adaptation (if one can call it adaptation).  What I do know is, it annoyed the heck out of me and the person I gave the running commentary to on what had been altered!  If I was Colin Dexter I probably would have been livid.  I'd love to hear a rationale explanation as to why so many changes were made as I really can't think of any.

3 comments:

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

The two are certainly radically different though I actually like them both very much in their own way. It is interesting to see how they made the characters much more upscale, in keeping with the generally classy feel of the show in terms of social position (which Dexter is much less bothered about) though they do make this a theme as moving between castes (sic) is somethign that is added to the story. It also helps give the story a visual variety the novel really doesn;t have and of course a less open-ended conclusion.

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - I'm a bit of purist about these things so I'm inclined anyway to like TV and film adaptations that stay true to the original. Many of the changes that are made in the course of adaptation just weren't necessary...

Rob Kitchin said...

Sergio, I kind of take your point about the show focusing on certain classes, but I'd disagree about the visual variety of the book vis-a-vis the adaptation. The adaptation is basically a little bit of Oxford, a boarding school, a comp school in Reading, a yuppie apartment and a flash mansion. The book has a dump, a council estate, a non-spires bit of Oxford nr to the station, Caenarvon (in North Wales) and Soho (strip club) - all of which are visually (more or at least as) interesting.

Margot - I agree, pretty much all the changes were completely unnecessary.