April

From Page and Stage to Screen: The Art of Adaptation

Our daily screenings of classic movies continue with our selection of some of the finest – and, occasionally, most imaginative – adaptations. First, further films inspired by books; then, in May, we move to adaptations from the stage.

Geoff Andrew, programmer-at-large

The Gospel According to Matthew

Pasolini’s characteristically political account of the life of Christ, shot neorealist style on location with a non-professional cast.

Read more

The Last Temptation of Christ

Scorsese’s respectful adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s book about a Messiah torn between divine destiny and an awareness of his own humanity.

Read more

The Trial

Welles’ brilliant adaptation of Kafka’s darkly satirical novel is visually extraordinary and memorably inventive.

Read more

Little Women

Winona Ryder anchors an ensemble of richly realised characters, in this magical story of a close-knit family during the Civil War.

Read more

The Picture of Dorian Gray

A marvellous cast brings bite to Albert Lewin’s sensitive, elegant and witty account of Wilde’s Faustian fable.

Read more

The Leopard

The sumptuous, tumultuous tale of Italy’s Risorgimento, and an aristocracy crumbling in the face of modernity.

Read more

The Grapes of Wrath

Ford’s acclaimed film of Steinbeck’s novel about Oklahoma farmers travelling to California during the Depression boasts a fine cast and magnificent imagery.

Read more

Pather Panchali

Ray’s debut about an impoverished family in rural Bengal remains one of the greatest films about childhood experience.

Read more

Nosferatu

Murnau’s vampire classic, with a mesmerising Max Schreck as the Count, is one of the finest of all horror movies.

Read more

Nosferatu + intro by Arike Oke, Executive Director of Knowledge, Learning & Collections

Murnau’s vampire classic, with a mesmerising Max Schreck as the Count, is one of the finest of all horror movies.

Read more

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde + intro by Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-Large

Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins excel in Rouben Mamoulian’s superb adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, now beautifully restored in 4K.

Read more

The Last of the Mohicans

Daniel Day-Lewis excels as Hawkeye in Michael Mann’s exhilarating adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel.

Read more

The Heiress

William Wyler’s riveting drama features a spine-chilling turn from Olivia de Havilland, as a young woman struggling to escape the patriarchal trappings of her home.

Read more

The Heiress + intro by Ruby McGuigan, BFI Programme and Acquisitions

William Wyler’s riveting drama features a spine-chilling turn from Olivia de Havilland, as a young woman struggling to escape the patriarchal trappings of her home.

Read more

Women in Love

More is more in Ken Russell’s daring D.H. Lawrence adaptation, featuring extravagant emotions and a captivating cast swept up in love, jealousy and unbridled sexuality.

Read more

Great Expectations

Arguably David Lean’s finest film, a wonderfully vivid adaptation of Dickens’ novel.

Read more

Great Expectations + intro by Jade Evans, AHRC REACH PhD student with QMUL and BFI

Arguably David Lean’s finest film, a wonderfully vivid adaptation of Dickens’ novel.

Read more

Beau Travail

Repressed violence and desire simmers beneath the surface of Claire Denis’ breathtaking visuals of male bodies and barren landscapes, capturing an unsettling failure to belong.

Read more

Beau Travail + intro by Sam Wigley, BFI News and Features Editor

Repressed violence and desire simmers beneath the surface of Claire Denis’ breathtaking visuals of male bodies and barren landscapes, capturing an unsettling failure to belong.

Read more

May

Henry V

Olivier’s acclaimed directorial debut brings glorious Technicolor and a fine William Walton score to Shakespeare’s patriotic play.

Read more

West Side Story

Bernstein and Sondheim’s evergreen musical, inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

Read more

The Magic Flute

Bergman’s gleefully theatrical film of Mozart’s opera – sung in Swedish – is vivacious, funny and enthralling.

Read more

Pandora’s Box

Louise Brooks dazzles as the iconic showgirl who leaves a trail of destruction in her wake, in one of the great silent films of the Weimar era.

Read more

Cabaret

Genuinely subversive in its sexual politics and seedy portrayal of Berlin, Bob Fosse’s take on a doomed love triangle remains as captivating as ever.

Read more

Ordet

Dreyer’s meticulous, measured and deeply moving play about a rural family riven by various tensions.

Read more

Camille

Garbo is at her radiant best in Cukor’s refined and elegant adaptation of Dumas’s novel and play about a Parisian courtesan.

Read more

Camille + intro

Garbo is at her radiant best in Cukor’s refined and elegant adaptation of Dumas’s novel and play about a Parisian courtesan.

Read more

A Streetcar Named Desire

Brando is at his electrifying best in Kazan’s hothouse film of Tennessee Williams’ play.

Read more

Bluebeard’s Castle

Powell’s film of Bartók’s magnificent one-act opera is remarkable for its vivid colours and expressionist sets.

Read more

Bluebeard’s Castle + intro by Alex Prideaux, Marketing and Events Manager – Our Screen Heritage

Powell’s film of Bartók’s magnificent one-act opera is remarkable for its vivid colours and expressionist sets.

Read more

Rope

Intellectual arrogance meets cold-blooded violence in Hitchcock’s virtuoso adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s play.

Read more

Rope + intro by Bryony Dixon, BFI National Archive Curator

Intellectual arrogance meets cold-blooded violence in Hitchcock’s virtuoso adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s play.

Read more

His Girl Friday

Grant and Russell excel as a divorced couple trading barbs and heated glances across the newsroom, as they race to uncover the story of the year.

Read more

His Girl Friday + intro by Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-Large

Grant and Russell excel as a divorced couple trading barbs and heated glances across the newsroom, as they race to uncover the story of the year.

Read more

Beautiful Thing

Hettie MacDonald and Jonathan Harvey’s acclaimed film version of the latter’s play, a gay romantic comedy set in and around a Thamesmead council estate.

Read more

Beautiful Thing + intro by Simon McCallum, BFI National Archive Curator

Hettie MacDonald and Jonathan Harvey’s acclaimed film version of the latter’s play, a gay romantic comedy set in and around a Thamesmead council estate.

Read more

Chi-Raq

Spike Lee’s signature flair imbues this tale of the women of Chicago joining in a bipartisan effort to end the violence in their neighborhoods.

Read more