Shawshank Redemption

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Comparative Analysis between a literary work and a film inspired by it: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption written by Stephen King and The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont.

Young Jin Lee
Introduction to Film
12/15/03
The literary works such as novels, plays and short stories, have long inspired moviemakers to create films. Films based on these literary works usually draw more attention of the movie audiences or critics than the one not based on them. If a literary work is not well adapted into a film, a number of critics and viewers willingly rise to fulminate at its filmmakers for degrading the essence of its literary work. Also, a lot of people who read a book first usually have a certain bias that a movie inspired by it would not be any better than the book. Even though a film does achieve a superb adaptation from a literary work, many of them still tend to be more loyal to the book than the movie. Certainly, in order to dramatize the literary work and deliver its essence to the audiences in a limited time, a filmmaker has to change many of its detail settings and eliminate unnecessary characters. In addition, a screen writer has to simplify emblazoned descriptions of the book and rewrite it as dialogues to fit in the film through the process of the adaptation. In this process, there is the transformation from the language of words to the language of images. So, what is lost, and what is gained? A good way of finding an answer to this is to compare the film adaptation of the book with its original literary work that is the basis for the film. Novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank and Movie, The Shawshank Redemption Stephen King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank, in Different Seasons, one of his collections published in 1982, is what the film, The Shawshank Redemption produced in 1994, is based upon. The movie, directed by Frank Darabont, is presented as if it is Ellis Boyd Redding’s (Morgan Freeman) story telling about Andy Dufresne (Tim Robins) convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Ellis Boyd Redding, simply called Red, is a lifetime convict of Shawshank prison, telling you about Dufresne’s stay at Shawshank from his arrival to his escape. On the other hand, the novella is a little bit different format from that of the film. It is presented as a form of a document written by Red. He is looking back over twenty-five-year period of time, while writing, so the things that he described in the document have already happened. Due to this, the story is written as if it is told from someone. Basically, both the film and the book are very similar in terms of the story line. Even though there is the similarity of the plot, the film captivates the viewer more than that of the novella that seems to drag out for quite a bit. In fact, Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption seems to convert an ordinary literary work into a cinematic masterwork. There are several elements that make it possible. The movie eliminates inessential characters to position major characters better, slightly modifies the story line and dialogue to strengthen the essence of the novella. In addition, it changes the role of certain characters to solidify their views. Overall, in The Shawshank Redemption, Darabont accomplishes a resplendent adaptation from the novella. Now, I would like to analyze what is gained and lost in the process of adaptation, comparing the both works in terms of these elements. Solidification of the Role of Certain Characters by Eliminating Inessential Characters If you read the book and watched the film, you would notice that there were many characters excluded from the book because they were simply not taking essential parts of the movie. They are only mentioned for a couple of times to explain a certain situation from the view point of Ellis Boyd Redding, who tells the...
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