Gonzalo Romero Holguín
May 20, 2014
The dead: movie and story comparison
Beside a few minor changes on dialogue “The Dead”, the short story by James Joyce, and The Dead, the 1987 film based on the short story, are remarkably similar. Even though literature translated to film regularly feels to the audience who are familiar with the original content like there is something missing, this adaptation manages to avoid that feeling and translates as swiftly as it is possibly. To demonstrate why is this possible is what I will attempt on this short essay.
Possibly the most difficult thing about translating a piece of literature into film is that on film it is not always possible to fusion the narrative style on the origin piece with its style. In a piece of writing like this it would seem queer to include a narrator on the film as it could probably disrupt the style intended for the story. In literature a narrator explains what the dialogues do not. In film that is not always possible, which is why some minor changes in the dialogue are needed to fully translate the story into film. These changes should not be regarded as a lost in quality. Nevertheless some scenes will inevitably feel different as in the short story we are certain of what the character is either thinking or feeling while on the film the audience is left to interpret how the actor represents this. On the film only during the ending is a narrator used, this is possibly because the whole ending of the short story would be possibly impossible to translate without actually narrating Gabriel’s thoughts literally.
The selection of actors is a very important thing to take into account if someone expects to remain faithful to the original material. In this film most actors are rightfully chosen because they closely resemble the descriptions given of each character in the story; with perhaps the exception of Freddy who is described as having the same complexion Gabriel has...
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