Books adapted to Movies - The House of Spirits

The Book


The House of Spirits (Spanish: La casa de los espiritus, 1982) is the debut novel of Isabel Allende. The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country's Panorama Literario Award. The House of the Spirits has been translated into over 37 languages.


The book was first conceived by Allende when she received news that her 100-year-old grandfather was dying. She began to him a letter that ultimately became the manuscript of The House of the Spirits.  The story details the life of the Trueba family and is told mainly from the perspective of two protagonists (Esteban and Alba) and incorporates elements of magical realism.


The Movie


A Casa dos Espíritos (1993)


"The House of Spirits" (original title)


Director: Bille August


Writer: Isabel Allende


Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Maria Conchita Alonso, Antonio Banderas.


The movie was nominated to 12 awards.




This is the story Esteban, a man who gains land and fortune through hard work. He only wishes for a loving family that have what he did not when he was a child. His conservative ways adds to that struggle and creates conflict with his family. This conflict grows when one of his low-class workers falls in love with his daughter. The military coup of 1973 to bring communism down in Chile is shown.


This film represents what it is to live in Chile. I have never seen any film that tells the culture and the people of the southern South-America better. The whole cast represents EXACTLY what Chileans look like and the difference between the higher and lower class. You can learn a lot from this film. Recommended 110%. It may have some differences with the book but it is respectful to it. Excellent camera and direction work at a spectacular location. 


Did you know?


Annete Benning and Michelle Pfeiffer were considered for the role of Clara. Kim Basinger and Julia Roberts turned down the role of Blanca. William Hurt was the first choice to play Esteban.




Alba is eating KFC, but the KFC name/logo wasn't adopted until the 1990s (it was formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken), it's in a basket instead of a box, and the chain wasn't franchised in South America in the 1970s anyway. 


The fascist coup in Chile took place on September 11th, 1973 which might have been a little early to do Christmas shopping and put decorations.


Errors in geography


There is a sequence that occurs at Christmas. There is snow on the ground and the characters are dressed for winter. Winter occurs from June to August (approximately) in the countries south from the Equator, like Chile. (Much of the movie was filmed in Denmark).


Factual errors


The Chilean army of 1973 is depicted using the wrong equipment such as G3 rifles, M48 tanks and Fiat G91 aircrafts. The correct weapons would be FAL riffles, M4 Sherman medium tanks, and either Hawker Hunter or F-80 Shooting Star aircrafts.




'I will never speak to you again... never'