The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Book vs. Movie

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  • Topic: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving, Ichabod Crane
  • Pages : 5 (1862 words )
  • Download(s) : 1089
  • Published : April 9, 2012
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A) Introduction: general overview.
B) Comparison of book and movie:
1) plot;
2) character;
3) settings.
C) Conclusion.


This research paper discusses differences and similarities between the book by W. Irving “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and movie “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, directed by Pierre Gang.


Screen version of W. Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, directed by Pierre Gang, is very close to the original.

When talking about screening of some book, we often pay attention to the plot and characters, looking for differences and similarities between writer’s and director’s conception. Someone likes to read a book and then watch a film on this book, another prefer to watch film first. And it’s hard to say what is better. While reading, our imagination “makes a movie” to us, creating a picture of described places, characters, events. Then it’s interesting to compare your and director’s vision of the story. And if you read book after watching a film, it may surprise you, because, to my mind, book always shows deeper emotions and feelings, which are hard to express in a film. Besides, director can take liberties, add something to his screenplay or, vice versa, remove some scenes. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, directed by Pierre Gang, is a good example of close interpretation of the W. Irving’s book “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. That is one of the best Irving’s stories. Irving, like a wizard, creates an atmosphere and can easily mislead and trick the reader. From the warm comfort, he immediately and deftly proceeds to whipping "mysticism" and mystery, and then abruptly completes all with neat humor. Exquisite style, slowly and carefully paced plot, juicy and very vivid descriptions of daily life, nature and character. This story is just so interesting and enjoyable to read, no matter what is currently happening in the story. Even describing some simple emotions Irving manages to do it multidimensional and with subtle humor. The story is narrated by first person and has no dialogues. It starts with description of Tarry Town and location that surrounds it. The movie starts with the appearance of a young traveler (we can guess that maybe he represents Irving by himself) in a tavern of Tarry Town. He collects and records stories and legends, told by people in different regions. Here the story about the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow was told. The story starts when Ichabod Crane comes to Sleepy Hollow as a school teacher. There is mentioned in the book that he already is hired for this job. But in the movie he is looking for a schoolmaster to ask about the vacancy. We can find funny talk between Ichabod and Hans Van Ripper - a choleric old farmer, who seems to be not very happy about being a schoolmaster and about the school at all. In the movie the first lesson is shown: we can see children of different age, sitting with a look like ‘what am I doing here?’ and Ichabod Crane instructing them. Since the story is short, it is hard to expand it to a full-length feature without adding some episodes and taking some liberties with the story. So, there was added an episode with the cow in the forest, with the spoons in Van Tassel’s home, or Katrina’s story on the porch before Ichabod left. In return, it wasn’t shown how Ichabod Crane helped inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow: “He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms, helped to make hay, mended the fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire” (Baym 968). In the story Irving doesn’t tell us what was the conversation after the Harvest festival between Katrina and Ichabod about. He just mentions, “Something, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, for he certainly sallied forth,...
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