The Quiet American- a Comparison

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Philip Noyce's adaptation of Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American to film was a large success. It stayed true to the script, and kept the basic essence of the characters; pulling them from the pages of the book and creating them visually into marvels on screen. The earlier film made on the book was made in 1958 by Joseph Mankiewicz. Fowler was played by Michael Redgrave, with Audie Murphy as Pyle. This version was forced to reverse Greene's political stand taken in the book however, meaning it had no-where near as much impact as Noyce's production. Noyce chose to film in actual Vietnamese locations and without compromise, boldly sticking to the novel by not letting the Americans come out of the story too kindly. The Vietnamese conflict-its roots, effects, and lifestyle was captured brilliantly with Brendan Fraser depicting the deceivingly innocent yet devious Pyle, and Michael Caine as Fowler the ageing and unhappy journalist. The most obvious problem encountered when translating this tale that has been described as a Drama/Thriller/Romance/War all in one is the fact that the book has been written in first person, and the movie being presented in third. This meant that there were extra scenes added into the film that were actually not part of the novel itself, though this being said they filled in gaps and made certain aspects of the film much more obvious and easy for the audience to understand. Films are of course made in accordance to what type of audience they are aiming for, and Noyce decided naturally to aim for a more main stream audience. In order to meet the demands of the main stream audiences he had to adapt the story to third person, so as to be able to give a more balanced or better rounded representation of the events, and to allow us more obviously to find out what the other characters were doing and thinking. It also allowed for what turned out to be a slightly different interpretations of the main characters.

Thomas Fowler in the novel is...
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