Dangerous Liaisons vs. Cruel Intentions

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It is my intention to compare the book, Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos, to its modern movie version, Cruel Intentions starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. I intend to examine how the original French text was modified in reference to plot, character, morals/values, and themes. I also plan to discuss how these transformations change the meaning of the story and reflect different cultural/historical contexts. There are some major differences between these two works, if only because of when they were written. First, the plots of both works need to be discussed and explained how they are different. The stories of both works have basically the same structure, until it gets toward the endings. In Dangerous Liaisons, the Vicomte de Valmont dies in a sword battle between him and Danceny. Right before he dies, though, he gives Danceny all of his letters between him and the Marquise de Merteuil and tells him to circulate them in order to ruin Merteuil 's reputation. Danceny does this and then moves away for a while. Merteuil ends up becoming disfigured from small pox and her reputation crumbles. She moves to Holland because of this. Cecile moves back into the convent and Madame de Tourvel dies of misery because of the suffering that Valmont put her through. Because Cruel Intentions is such a modernized version of this story, the ending is a lot different. Sebastian (Valmont) dies by being hit by a car because he pushed Annette (Tourvel) out of the way in order to save her life. Obviously, this is a much more modern way of dying in a movie than dying in a sword fight. Also, it shows the Valmont character as being more heroic, which in Dangerous Liaisons, he was not quite so heroic. In the movie, it does not really say what happens to Ronald (Danceny). He fights with Sebastian, and that is the last we see of him. Catherine (Merteuil), like in the book, also has her reputation ruined, but she gets humiliated in a more dramatic way (in front of the


Cited: Cruel Intentions. Kumble, Roger. Columbia Pictures, 1998. Laclos, Choderlos de. Dangerous Liaisons. London: Penguin Classics, 1961.

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