Friendo: “I recently finished Romain Gary‘s award-winning, best-selling ‘The Roots of Heaven,’ an excellent, deeply philosophical novel about a man who sets out to save Africa’s elephants from hunters and ivory poachers. He thinks by saving the elephants he can help mankind reclaim its humanity. John Huston made a film of it in 1958, with Errol Flynn, Trevor Howard, Juliette Greco and Eddie Albert costarring.
“It’s kind of a notorious disaster, which even Huston admitted (a) wasn’t very good, and (b) was all his fault. Although shot on location with a big budget, Roots is generally sluggish and filled with the kind of speeches that work a lot better on the page than in a film.”
Off the top of my head: Brian DePalma‘s The Bonfire of the Vanities (’90 — arguably the all-time king of crap films made from acclaimed books), Richard Brooks‘ Lord Jim (’65), David Lynch‘s Dune (/84), Michael Winterbottom‘s The Killer Inside Me (10), Roland Joffe‘s The Scarlet Letter (’95), Robert Benton‘s Billy Bathgate (’91), Francis Lawrence‘s I Am Legend…and these are just scratching the surface.