April 29, 2012
I watched the 1960 film adaptation of Queen of Spades. The filmmakers made some changes to the story (Hermann finds the story in a book, Naroumov is a much bigger character) that did help it make the jump from page to screen... but as with most adaptations, they mainly focused on transplanting the plot and ended up missing some of the point.
Here are eight major events in the plot:
Hermann hears the story, Hermann sees Lisaveta in the window, Lisaveta arranges for Hermann to sneak inside the Countess' estate, Herman chooses to surprise the Countess and scares her to death, Hermann goes to the funeral, Hermann is visited by the Countess and receives the secret, Hermann denies Lisaveta, Herman tests the secret and loses his fortune and mind.
Hermann grows from a person who believes in "not sacrificing the necessary in the hope of winning the superfluous" to one who has sacrificed his sanity chasing the truth to a story about a gambling secret. Lisaveta grows from a naive ward of the Countess to a heartbroken pawn of fate.
In my opinion, Pushkin's point is to show the problems of manipulation that arise when fate places people with conflicting passions in relationships with each other. It's also a horror story about man's age old dance of death with Lady Luck, and about two doomed people who are screwed no matter how much they think they are exercising their own free will. To be a successful I need to make sure I really nail the characterization and development of these relationships between those eight aforementioned plot events. The relationships and the growth as Hermann pursues his goal--that is what is most important to transplant. Around that, I think a lot can be changed for the sake of an entertaining yarn.
AND MOAR SUSPENSE. Everything's better with more creepy and more suspense.