Why, Hollywood?

I was so excited when I saw there’s a movie of A.S.Byatt’s “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye”. (spoiler alert: I’m gonna reveal the plot of the movie AND the eponymous novella.) And, I liked the beginning, with the scenes of Sheba. But I was hoping for more panoramic scenery, views of Istanbul, etc…instead the movie takes place pretty much all in two interiors: the heroine’s hotel room and later, her apartment in England.
Also at the beginning I wondered how they were gonna “youthen” Tilda Swinton’s face at the end. Because in the book she buys an old glass bottle in the bazaar,the genie emerges when she scrubs it, they have a long discussion concerning various myths and fairy tales, in which she’s. Scholarly expert—and finally, she makes her wish:
she wishes for her body to look the way it did the last time she really liked it.
Granted! She is presently, idk, maybe 58 or so, but she LOOKS 34! She’s very happy, and the djinn congratulates her on the wisdom of her choice.
I can’t remember her other wishes. Maybe she wishes freedom for the djinn. And they DO kinda fall in love, but she doesn’t WISH for the djinn to love her, as she does in the movie. She asks if, maybe, he would visit her again sometime—IF he remembers her, because as she understands, he is an immortal and you accumulate a lotta memories over eternity—and he says he will—IF he remembers.
That’s the end, to my recollection. She doesn’t take him back to England and keep him as a love-slave, only to eventually release him after a saccharine soliloquy about how now she know you can’t mandate love by fiat. There certainly isnt anything like the gratuitous scene in the movie where her two very white, very English old neighbors rail against blacks moving into the neighborhood (Idris Elba plays the djinn) which is puzzling anyway because the djinn is invisible to them.
My question is, if Hollywood (whoever that is) didn’t think the original story was gripping enough, why make a movie of it?
And if “they” DID realize it’s a great story, why didn’t they stick to it as written?

3 Likes

A writer and her editor are taking a hike in the country to celebrate the publication of the latest book on which they collaborated. The day was hot and they’d neglected to bring water, so were delighted to come across a small pond in a forested patch. The writer bent down to scoop up some water and was horrified to see the editor urinating into the other side of the pond. Shocked, she said, “What are you doing?” The editor replied, “I’m improving it.”

That’s Hollywood—they’re improving it.

4 Likes

Just a correction: It is not Istanbul. It is Occupied Constantinople. Carry on.

2 Likes