Screen Adaptation

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Screen Adaptation


a cinematographic interpretation of a work from another art form—prose, drama, poetry, song, or opera or ballet libretto.

Immediately after its inception, the art of the cinematographer turned to literature for its plots and themes. The first Russian feature film, Sten’ka Razin and the Princess (1908, also known as The Freemen of the Lower Reaches), was a screen adaptation of the song “From the Island to the Channel” (”The Song of Sten’ka Razin”). By 1917 approximately 100 motion pictures had been made in Russia based on novels and novellas by A. S. Pushkin, F. M. Dostoevsky, A. P. Chekhov, L. N. Tolstoy, and other writers. Works of foreign literature were also widely adapted for the screen, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After the October Revolution of 1917, the mastery and further development of the realistic traditions of classic and modern literature made a significant contribution to the art of the Soviet motion picture. With the appearance of sound motion pictures, the expressive possibilities and selection of genres available to cinematography were greatly increased, and the motion-picture novel and novella were created.

Outstanding Soviet screen adaptations have included The Mother, based on the novel by M. Gorky (1926, directed by V. I. Pudovkin); The Poor Bride, based on the play by A. N. Os-trovskii (1936, directed by Ia. A. Protazanov); Peter the First, based on the historical novel by A. N. Tolstoy (1937–38, directed by V. M. Petrov); The Childhood of Gorky, In the World, and My Universities, based on works by Gorky (1938–40, directed by M. S. Donskoi); The Young Guard, based on the novel by A. A. Fadeev (1948, directed by S. A. Gerasimov); Othello, based on the play by Shakespeare (1956, directed by S. I. Iutkevich); The Quiet Don (1957–58, directed by Gerasimov) and A Man’s Fate (1959, directed by S. F. Bondarchuk), based on works by M. A. Sholokhov; Hamlet, based on the play by Shakespeare (1964, directed by G. M. Kozintsev); War and Peace, based on the novel by L. N. Tolstoy (1966–67, directed by Bondarchuk); The Brothers Karamazov, based on the novel by Dostoevsky (1969, directed by I. A. Pyr’ev); and The Dawns Here Are Quiet, based on a work by B. L. Vasil’ev (1972, directed by S. I. Rostotskii).

A popular device in foreign screen adaptations is the transfer of the action of a classic work into another time, usually modern. Screen adaptations are also frequently used in television programming, for example, the Soviet serial How the Steel Was Tempered, based on the novel by N. A. Ostrovskii, and the British serial The Forsyte Saga, based on the series of novels by J. Galsworthy.


Eisenstein, S. M. “Amerikanskaia tragediia.” In his Izbr. stat’i. Moscow, 1956.
Eisenstein, S. M. “Dikkens, Griffit i my.” Ibid. Moscow, 1956.
Romm, M. “O kino i o khoroshei literature.” In his collection Besedy o kino. Moscow, 1964.
Vaisfel’d, I. “Grani zhizni.” In his Masterstvo kinodramaturga. Moscow, 1961.
Manevich, I. M. Kino i literatura. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
QUESTION 8 - Taylor, icon seen in the screen adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
After exactly 11 years exactly when the big screen adaptation of Iron Man first got released in cinemas, Iron Man has come to an end.
"Plus, for families, there is the screen adaptation of Paddington 2."
"Our idea was and still is to present a curated selection of excellent books from around the world which are particularly suited to screen adaptation as a basis for bringing producers into contact with representatives from the publishing branch.
WATCH IT IF YOU love a good thriller tune in to Gone Girl (tonight, BBC2, 10pm) for the big screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn bestselling book.
The screen adaptation stars Streep as Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor, and Hathaway as Andrea (Andy) Sachs, a college graduate who goes to New York City and lands a job as Priestly's co-assistant.
She was nominated for an Oscar for her work with Mychael Danna on Pi's Lullaby in the big screen adaptation of Yann Martel's Life of Pi in 2012.
2LES 2 LES MISERABLES (2012) - Anne Hathaway scooped an Oscar for her role as the tragic Fantine in the big screen adaptation of the 19th century French revolution novel.
A BIG screen adaptation of a Pulitzer prize-winning author's short story is being shown at the Bahrain Cinema Club Juffair tonight.
"Bayterek," which follows the story of a neglected schoolboy, and "Kyz Jibek," a silver screen adaptation of the Kazakh legend "The Sky of My Childhood," which follows the life of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, are among the offerings at the film days, which will continue until Friday.
The film is the sequel to Abrams' 2009 big screen adaptation of the hit sci-fi series.