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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Rediscovering Classic Films Through Books

The trend of adapting novels to film is not at all a recent one. For years and long before the popular Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games, Hollywood has been taking note of some of our most profound novels and turning to these illustrious literary works for inspiration on the big screen.

For movie buffs, the “classics” are films that are watched over and over, with each viewing broadening appreciation and revealing a new meaning to viewers as the times progress. Publishing giant, Random House has taken notice of that adoration and is treating classic movie fans care of their Vintage Books imprint by creating a series of novels under the “Vintage Movie Classics” banner and putting a spotlight on some of the greatest novels that have stood the test of time.

{Image Credit: Knopf Doubleday/Random House}

Currently, the series has brought back into print six classic novels that have inspired some of Hollywood’s greatest iconic and endearing films, some of which were nominated for, or won Academy Awards. As a film fan and someone who appreciates the older fabric of cinema, this can be considered a step into a TCM vault of sorts for anyone willing to invite classic and exemplar literature into their reading.

While many have a knee-jerk reaction to black and white films starring no one they know or find it odd that none of the actors are presently on social media, older films truly serve of great importance to our modern and ever-progressive filmography. Firstly, no film is truly old if you haven’t seen it; and secondly, watching movies strictly from the breadth of a certain time-frame limits one’s appreciation for the ubiquitous art. These classic films are truly timeless, and by watching and growing an affinity to them, one will notice not just the personality and charm of a yesteryear classic, but because the early days of film started in theater, the artistic foundations show greatly and are absolutely solid.

Now an easy suggestion for readers would be to just watch the films and forget the books, but the beauty of these particular literary releases from Vintage Movie Classics is that they encompass everything pure and captivating from that golden era of literature mixed with the romance and enchantment of film. Of course, that goes without saying how books are always and have always been better than their film adaptations; and that’s due to the obviousness of limited storytelling time, waning imagination, and accuracy. But for those hesitant to watch black and white movies because of the coloring or any other dispute, these books are perfect to helping one overcome such a challenge and paint a colorful story in mind by gifted writers.

Having watched many of the films featured in the series, absolute favorites would have to be The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Back Street, The Bad Seed, and Alice Adams. The films are enduring works and are perfect reads even for today. While personally, I only own two in the collection so far, these two are now part of the growing list of favorite novels I’ve read in recent years.

Written by R.A Dick, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a beautiful story of a young widow forming a unique relationship with a seaside ghost. The premise may sound like a comedy (spawned a sitcom in 1968), but this paranormal romance is an ever magical one with very lively and bright characters (especially that of Capt. Daniel Gregg). First published in 1945, this is a quick read and guaranteed to be finished in one-sitting, considering it’s only 222 pages. This romantic tale explores not just how love can develop without limitations, both in this life and beyond, but is timeless in its subject matter. Focusing on modern themes of alienation, unrequited love and the passage of time, this is literature that is easily relatable and understood by the wise reader.

{Image Credit: Tania Hussain}

Two of my favorites from this collection! {Image Credit: Tania Hussain}

Back Street is no stranger to the same themes, except with the injection of infidelity. Being a hard theme to digest or highlight during the novel’s initial release in 1931 where such social topics were considered taboo, the story by Fannie Hurst (author of Imitation of Life) is about the heartbreak of a woman living along the “back streets” of a man’s life, knowing throughout the years that he would never truly love her back. The novel was so well received and of great interest to readers that it was adapted to film three times, with the last version being in 1961 with Susan Hayward and John Gavin.

These are stunning books and as a lit lover, I adore everything about them. From the smell of the ink to the smoothness of the pages, to the covers, aesthetically, they’re gorgeous but reading-wise, they’re like comfort food—solid, hearty stories to warm your soul. Sitting back with books like these is not just comforting, but adds an incredible appeal to your reading regimen. Through reading these books, readers can discover or re-discover some great films in the process, and fall in love with ageless stories that ought to be passed down from generation to generation.

The Vintage Movie Classics are published in paperback and e-book form, and feature new covers that highlight their correlations from the film. Each novel features forewords from film historians and biographers, making the series a fun and enlightening one. With drawing from various genres such as suspense, romance, western, and much more, readers can expect a large collection coming soon.

Next month (February 3, 2015), readers can expect to get their hands on the classic western, Drums Along The Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds; and the horror-thriller, The Bad Seed by William March. Later this summer (June 23, 2015), Vintage Books plans to release the science-fiction novel, Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson; and the suspense-thriller, The Night of The Hunter by Davis Grubb.

The Vintage Movie Classics are now available in-store and online at TCM’s official shop and on Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. For updates and all the latest on the collection, follow TCM and Vintage Books on Twitter.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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