Detailed overview of Upton Sinclair and his novel Oil! in relation to the recent film There Will Be Blood:
The usual rule among movie people is that better films are made from mediocre books than from great ones: so Francis Ford Coppola came up with a better version of The Godfather than Mario Puzo. The theory, though, is challenged by this year’s Oscar nominations for best picture. The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, an exceptional film, derives from a novel by Cormac McCarthy that is at least very good. And Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, a masterpiece, is adapted from Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, which, though not one of the greatest works of American literature or even one of Sinclair’s best books, is exceptionally impressive.