Do You Appreciate or Avoid Movie and TV Tie-ins?

One day, at Barnes and Noble, I was looking for a copy of my favorite Balzac, Cousin Bette. The only edition on the shelf was a Penguin movie tie-in, with Jessica Lange on the cover. Lange is beautiful – too beautiful for Cousin Bette -and I prefer a Penguin with a cover design based on a detail from a painting. But I bought the tie-in, because I wanted to reread it immediately.

Some like movie and TV tie-ins. They must, or the publishers would not bother with them.

Below are some images of movie and TV tie-ins juxtaposed beside regular book covers. What do you think?

There are so many versions of Anna Karenina. Oddly, I missed the movie with Keira Knightley, though I did see a Masterpiece series of AK, though perhaps not this one, which starred Nicola Pagett. As you see, the design of the Modern Library paperback (right) is dignified and neither too dramatic nor too distracting.

I own a copy of the 1980 Masterpiece Theater tie-in (left). You will be surprised to learn that the actress Cheryl Campbell’s face is artfully portrayed within the sky of the cover. If you have a chance to watch this 1980 Masterpiece Theater (BBC?) production, I recommend it. The second cover portrays actress Alicia Vikander, who plays Vera in the remarkable 2014 movie. Great movie, but the cover doesn’t do it justice.

Actually, the middle one – a tie-in! – might be the prettiest. What do you think?

I prefer the 1980 cover (right), because the art is clever and reflects an actual ball scene in the book. The cover on the left (2021) looks vaguely sexual, doesn’t it? and does not at all fit Nancy Mitford’s intentions. The middle cover (2001) is fine, but means nothing to me because I don’t know the actress. That’s the problem with TV tie-ins.

I prefer the cover of the book on the right, but also like the TV tie-in (middle). The movie tie-in does show us Emma Thompson and the other actors (unknown to me ), but it doesn’t capture the mood. The TV series is also better than the movie, I think. But that’s just me. And the TV series was so long; it had much more time to develop characters and scenes.

Do you have a favorite movie or TV tie-in of your own? Or one that you absolutely hate? Do tell!

2 thoughts on “Do You Appreciate or Avoid Movie and TV Tie-ins?

  1. I hate all tie-ins and try not to buy them. I had no idea that Testament had an actress’s face on the cover.

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    1. There’s something off-putting about the whole concept. I, too, never realized that copy of “Testament” pictured the actress until I looked at the tie-ins online!

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