The main purpose of this article is to identify and examine the criteria used in evaluating two screen adaptations of a literary classic. They are Ryszard Ordynski's and Andrzej Wajda's film versions of Adam Mickiewicz's 'Pan Tadeusz' (made in 1928 and 1999 respectively). In general, the criteria in question can be divided into two types, intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic criteria are those that are used to assess the artistic merit and quality of the film as well as the appropriateness and effectiveness of the chosen adaptation strategy. The extrinsic criteria cover all kinds of external factors, such as the role of changing historical conditioning in the reading of the original text, and the degree of correspondence between the film''s theme and current existential experiences of its audience (they would to some extent echo Poland's current socio-political situation). The film's technological sophistication, or lack of it, assessed by reference to the general level of audiovisual productions at the time - which can be taken to represent the mean point of viewers' expectations - form another element of the latter set of criteria.
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