Cinema: Don't Put Your Drama Onscreen

Three recent plays get torpedoed on their way to the movies

Let the mid-cult trumpets be raised: Hollywood is stagestruck again. Children of a Lesser God corrals five Oscar nominations; Crimes of the Heart blossoms into a modest, megastar success; Brighton Beach Memoirs and 'night, Mother find their way to film. All of which means . . . very little. Perhaps that there is lower financial risk in stories with few characters and no special effects. Or that the ravenous appetite of the home-video market can be easily stoked with product that has proved its value in another venue. Or that moguls have decided to bankroll a few films with their wives...

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