The release of RENT seems to have stirred up once more the debate around what makes a film adaptation of a stage musical “perfect”. Is it one that remains as faithful as possible to the material? Is it one that caters for the medium of film, even if a great deal of the show ends up being cut? One that just tells the story told in the musical? Or one that is simply a good film that doesn’t concern itself with trying to please fans of the stage show?
The point is that every film adaptation will have it’s detractors, so maybe there is no definitive answer. Maybe perfect is the wrong word to use. Off the top of my head, I’d say that Chicago, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret are great film adaptations of stage musicals. Even when they aren’t particularly faithful, they are good films in their own right.