The Adaption of a Novel to a Film

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Many novels have been translated into films in different circumstances

Authors write and develop their works in novels and storybooks and some choose to submit their work for filming. However, there are various factors that affect the filming of texts in novels and storybooks. For instance, the political, social, economic, and technological factors affect the filming of a particular novel. Consequently, the differences between the past setup and present setups also manipulate the filming of novels. For example, the book "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles can also be filmed. The adaption of the translation of the novel "A Gentleman in Moscow" to a film can be influenced by different environmental factors.

Summary of the Book

The book entitled "A Gentleman in Moscow" is a novel by Amor Towles; an American novelist. The novel is about a Russian aristocratic known as the Count Alexander Rostov (Towles). In 1922, the Russian aristocratic was presented before a Bolshevik tribunal and was sentenced to be confinement within the attic of a luxury hostel. He was sentenced to a house arrest in Metropol because of coming up with a poem with revolutionary overtones.

However, the Russian aristocratic becomes disillusioned about his life when he learns the way individuals behave. He believes that individuals have lost common courtesy, values that were very important during his former life (Towles). Thus, the new generation has lost this values by behaving in a negative manner according to the aristocrats’ opinions. The feeling of disillusion makes the Count to lose hope in life and decides to commit murder by jumping from the hotel. He is saved by Abram, a beekeeper who shares his honey with him. After that experience, the Count comes back to his sense and realizes the importance of ones’ life. The Count uses his knowledge of dining etiquette and proper manners to serve as a volunteer at the Boyarsky. From his knowledge and experience, the Count is promoted quickly and becomes the head of the waiters. He builds a strong relationship with his fellow staffs and teaches them how to work efficiently. Thus, his skills and experiences attract many individuals to work honestly and with integrity.

Cinematic Possibilities of the Novel

The setting of the novel "A Gentleman in Moscow" can be stunning if translated into a film. There are very many factors that can make the film to be more elegant (Jacobs 2017). For instance, the presence of the Metropol, a luxury hotel still operating up to date will bring more meaning to the film. The luxury hotel will make many individuals adapt to the translation of the novel to be a film. Thus, people will easily link the actions from the film with the texts because the settings of the movie can still be relocated.

In addition to that, the periodic setting also affects the adoption of the novel to be filmed. The novel has a proximate distance to the present occurrences of the world. For instance, the setting of the novel is very near in time (Jacobs 79). Thus, viewers of the film will be more familiar since the texts of the novel are still fresh in their minds. Therefore, the adaption of the film will be a bit easier because a majority of viewers would have a good background information on the theme of the film.

Furthermore, the historical facts will also make it easier for the novel to be adapted by different people. For instance, the novels’ historical fact can be seen during the 1954s’ world first nuclear plant in Russia. However, the blacking-out of is assumed as an invention by the assembly of Party leaders also acts as a historical fact affecting the adaption of the film. Therefore, during the translation of the novel to a film, individuals will easily connect the historical facts to the themes of the film. Thus, adapting the film more easily and spreading the film to many more people across the world.

The different stylistic characteristics in the novel will make it easily adapted by individuals. For instance, the novel is entertaining. The author of the novel, Amor Towles made sure that his work of art is entertaining to readers (Kaindl, Klaus, and Spitzl). This can be seen where the Count comes back to his senses and decides to work as a volunteer in a hotel. The Count then uses his experience and knowledge to ensure that he works honestly and with integrity. This makes him promoted as the head of waiters. Hence, individuals will find the movie more entertaining and therefore will easily adapt to the film.

Episodic characteristic will also make the adaptation of the novel to a film easier. The author of the novel structured his work according to certain episodes. For instance, the novel's first episode can be captured when the Count is arrested and sentenced to house confinement. The second episode is captured when the Count tries to commit murder and is saved by Abram, a beekeeper. The third episode can be captured when the Count comes back to his senses and decides to use his knowledge to work as a volunteer in a hotel. Therefore, the episodic characteristic will create a particular tone and connectivity in the film, thereby making the translation to be adopted easily.

Challenges of Adaptation

However, there are various parts of the story that could resist the adaptation of the film. Firstly, the story set up in a particular area of the world could resist the adaption of the translation (Kaindl, Klaus, and Spitzl). For instance, not all individuals are aware of the setting where the story took place. Thus, when the novel will be translated, individuals who will be attracted to the film will only be those having information on the setup area. Therefore, this poses a great challenge to the adaption of the novel to the film.

Another restrictive part of the story that could affect the translation is the scenario where the Count wanted to take away his life. This act can be viewed as misleading to individuals (Kaindl, Klaus, and Spitzl). For instance, parents and guardians can fail to air out the film to their children because they think that children might learn that taking away one's life is the solution to many life problems. Therefore, the translation might not be spread all over the world. Hence, this will limit the awareness of the translation of the novel.

A filmmaker can face different challenges while adapting the text. Firstly, technological aspects can pose a barrier while adapting the text (Chan et al. 169). For instance, a particular filmmaker can find it difficult in filming the part of the story where the Count wants to commit murder by throwing himself from the top of the house where he was sentenced to a house arrest after writing a revolutionary overtone poem in Russia. Therefore, a filmmaker will be required to include other advanced technological aspects that will capture all the actions from that particular part of the story.

Secondly, the social characteristics of various societies can pose a challenge to a filmmaker when adapting the text. For instance, various households might have negative perceptions about the setting and plot of the story, claiming that it can interfere with the growth and development of their young ones (Chan et al. 171). Thirdly, the fluctuation of labor prices might affect the adaptation of the text. The filmmaker can find it difficult in paying different prices to the various actors who must be in place to make the translation successful. Hence, the filmmaker will face economic challenges such as the fluctuation of labor prices in various nations while adapting the text.

Impact of the Film Adaptation

The translation of the film has various impacts on society. Firstly, the film will teach the societal members how to exercise their skills and knowledge to ensure that the objectives and goals are easily achieved. These teachings can be obtained in the part of the story where the Count uses his experiences and knowledge to work diligently in a hotel as a volunteer. On the other hand, the society also poses some impacts to the film. For instance, the society's cultural factors can influence the film of the novel.


There are various parts of the book that would be easy to adapt to the translation of the novel to a film. These include the time setting; the setting is still familiar to many readers since it was produced recently, the presence of the hotel in Russia also contributes to the adaptation of the film. However, there are other parts that might negatively affect the adaptation of the film. These include the particular area of the setting where the story took place and the negative perceptions that people have on the part where the Count wanted to commit murder. The adaptation can also impact the society by teaching members various skills to enhance survival. Additionally, the society's negative perceptions of some actions of the story can also impact the adaptation of the film.

Works Cited

Chan, Felicia, and Andy Willis. "British Chinese short films: challenging the limits of the Sinophone." Sinophone Cinemas. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2014. 169-184.

Jacobs, Rita D. "A Gentleman in Moscow." World Literature Today 91.1 (2017): 79.

Kaindl, Klaus, and Karlheinz Spitzl, eds. Transfiction: Research into the realities of translation fiction. Vol. 110. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014.

Towles, Amor. "A gentleman in Moscow." New York (NY): Viking (2016).

September 25, 2023



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