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A mini solution

October 05, 2008

While reading Lewis Beale's article ("Book to Film Can Be a Real Horror Story," Sept. 28), I couldn't help wondering why screenwriters, directors and producers still overlook a proven solution to the novel-to-film faithfulness quandary: the television miniseries.

While it might not always be necessary to translate as much as possible from what is in the novel to what shows up on the screen -- limitations the theatrical motion picture can handle admirably -- the miniseries form certainly offers many more possibilities for remaining true to those novels that simply can't be condensed to two, 2 1/2 hours. As examples, I offer the following: "Roots," "Lonesome Dove," "Shogun," "Centennial," "The Thorn Birds," "Bleak House," "Horatio Hornblower," "Sense and Sensibility" and "Dune."

The small screen is steadily getting bigger. Its sound has improved dramatically. Respected actors are increasingly embracing its intimacy and reach. To paraphrase the New Testament, isn't it time to render to the multiplex screen the stories that fit, and to the home screen the stories that don't?

David Butler

Los Angeles

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