18 February 2007

A Town Like Alice

I first read A Town Like Aliceprobably 15 years ago. (Have you read it? You certainly ought to.) I found the edited miniseries from 1981 a few years ago and watched it and well, almost hated it. I didn't even finish watching it. But I found it again at the library a few days ago (the unedited, 6-hour version) and decided that I would try it again since I really loved the book and every review I've seen for the miniseries is very positive.

And it was a lot better the second time, unedited. My biggest problem the first time around was with the actions of one of the main characters- he does something totally out of character solely to create tension with the result of another character doing something silly too. In the edited version these scenes were a major part of the movie, but in the unedited version, they're not nearly as much of a problem.

Still, I have the same basic problem with the movie. It focuses too much on a love story- a major part of the book, yes, but not the only thing. There is no explanation of the title- in fact, Jean's business ventures are only a small part of the miniseries while in the book they form the basis of how she creates a town like Alice Springs. That is entirely lost in the miniseries. A better title would have been A Love Like (name of the characters) or something silly like that. The miniseries missed a huge part of the book and I can't call it a faithful adaption of the book.

So read the book. :)


  1. John GovernaleFebruary 18, 2007

    This is one of the first books my wife and I read aloud to each other.

    I enjoyed the mini-series, but suggest one read the book, too. I'm not sure which would be best, though, reading it before or after.

  2. I love this book! Nevil Shute, the author, is one of my favorite authors ever. The original title is "The Legacy" which is a much better title, I think. I recommend also "The Pied Piper", "No Highway", "Trustee from the Toolroom" and especially "Round the Bend" by him.

    The miniseries was terrible, I thought, because it went too slowly, and because they made the main character do things that were so out of character. I totally agree with that assessment. Stick to the book. =)

    The movie adaptation of "No Highway", with James Stewart in the role of Mr. Honey, was pretty good, though. I do recommend that one. The movie is called "No Highway in the Sky", a title that makes no sense, but otherwise the movie is really good. Jimmy Stewart makes a perfect Mr. Honey.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, Tatiana. I haven't read any of his other books and I'll have to try them.

  4. Oh, please let me know if you do! I would love to know what you think of them. My email is TheTatiana AT gmail DOT com.

    I was supposed to go to Kyrgyzstan to take a job last year, but it didn't come through and I got a job here instead. Your blog makes me wish I were there. =)

  5. It makes me wish I were there too!