Analyse and comment on the differences and similarities of the ways in which the two movie versions of “of mice and men” portray the events and characters. When we watch a film we are caught up in the story that it is telling and accept everything that happens on the screen as natural. In fact everything that we see has been carefully chosen and edited on the screen and within the actual storyline to have an effect on the watching audience. The camera is moved and people and objects are positioned in the frame; what people wear is carefully chosen and the settings are selected and prepared.
Because of our experiences of films seen at the cinema or on television we have some expectations about what happens in the film, we expect to know what happens next, we expect a climax and an ending. The filmmaker also shapes what we think is going to happen by the opening sequence. The filmmaker has a number of ways to help the film such as costumes lighting cameras and props the audiences position in the film will depend on the way the filmmaker tells us the story In this assignment I am going to analyse and comment on the two movie versions of “Of mice and men”.
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In the old film the opening sequence is the same as the novel. But because the novel lacks action an extra scene is added to the old movie. This will engage the audience’s attention and they will understand what the director is trying to do. Introducing the element of danger to Lennie, into the story right from the start results in a slow build up of tension all the way through the story because the viewer is always trying to anticipate when the trouble is going to happen.
Also the confrontation between two of the main characters on the ranch is a clever idea because each time the two are mentioned together or in the same place tension will peak because a confrontation is even more likely at that point. I feel that the movie is at a much higher level in entertainment than the book it was derived from. In the movie you can actually see and hear things that you probably would not catch on to in the book. For example there are the facial expressions from the talented actors and actresses. The music soundtrack of “Of Mice and Men” is very well composed.
At the very beginning of the movie, a spirited mood was set in the audience when we saw Lennie and George running away from these men who were chasing them. The Opening sequence of the old movie has two men running with the horses after George And Lennie. We don’t see the girl in this movie like we see in the second or newer version. This scene is an add-on because it is a film, which wants to capture your attention more; otherwise it wouldn’t succeed as a film and would be boring. The instruments used in the songs were very effective, such as the violin.
The setting in the movie was just as it was described in the book. The time setting of the story takes place in the 1930s, when there is the Great Depression. It seems to take place in the southern part of the United States, because of the increased ethnic tensions we see in the movie. For example there is Crooks, who is isolated from everyone else because of the colour of his skin. Also, the clothing worn by the actors were very true to the time frame. The audience can actually feel that they are back in that time period by watching this movie.
The clothing worn by Lennie and George showed that they were not well off, as were the majority of the population during the Great Depression. In the movie, the actors were very good. In scenes the audience would get emotional. An example is when Carlson shoots Candy’s old dog, and Candy lies down on the bed and tosses and turns in pain. In the movie, I actually felt sympathetic for Curley’s wife since she seemed to always be the victim. This is something I had not felt in the book. Also, the very last scene when George shoots Lennie and then he starts to cry. In many ways the movie is very similar to the book.
Right from the beginning of the movie you can see that Lennie has a mental illness, and George is taking care of him like a father. Also, you can tell that George gets impatient with Lennie numerous times and that he gets frustrated very easily. George and Lennie hide in the cornfield during this version of the film when they are escaping from the posse of men on horses with dogs, which are hunting them down. Also in the first movie George leaves unlike the novel we see Lennie being left behind and looking lonely, after George walks around he comes back to where he left Lennie.
In the modern movie it starts off with George and Lennie being chased by the pose with horses and dogs, while this is happening while dramatic music is being played this gives us more action and gets us hooked, we see a woman running along the field and she is looking scared. In the first movie there are no dogs chasing them, which takes away the effect a bit of the posse chasing Lennie and George. The camera angle is lower in the older movie; there is a use of wide shots to establish the scene and to enable the viewers to get used to the setting of the action before they introduce the posse chasing after them.
In the newer movie the quality of the video is better and so is the editing of how different scenes are combined into one. This method used by the director of the film increases tension and the overall quality of the film, we the audience are put in George and Lennie’s shoes. As Lennie and George reach the river they immediately jump into it hiding half in the water and behind the thick grass, the camera angle is very close-up shots at low level looking at the posse.
Then the camera zooms into Lennie and George’s view, therefore giving an added amount of tension by involving the audience in the film. At this time the music has stopped and the tension is rising as the group of men with horses and dogs and guns are a stones throw away. We are hoping that they are not found as they are so close. The next scene shows us Lennie and George on a train on their way to Soledad and we get an insight to their characters relationships and to introduce how Lennie acts which Is different to how he is introduced in the old version of the film.
Similarities to the novel include the bus scene, which is extended in the same way as the novel to also gain a better interpretation of their characters and George’s relationship with Lennie. However the train scene is an added scene, which is not in the novel and only in the film, in this scene the producer increases the dramatic tension by using different media techniques. One of which is cross fading when the camera fades in and out, for me this scene is lonely, the audience would be wondering why the posse where chasing the two characters and subconsciously siding with Lennie and George.
While Lennie and George are talking to each other it slowly builds up leaving a preview of their characters to us, the audience which enables us to make judgements and predictions towards their personalities. In the second movie after Lennie has fled after he killed Curley’s wife (by accident), George fetches a gun, we the audience are unaware of this because unlike the first movie he doesn’t show Slim the gun, we the audience thought that he is going to flee with Lennie like the start of the movie.
I thought this also and thought it was symbolism of how things don’t change. As he finds Lennie the tension builds up and we are reminded what has happened, that Lennie is in a lot of trouble. As George approaches we can hear the posse just like the start and we think they are about to run away. But when George shoots Lennie while he is looking away we are very shocked as we didn’t see him get a gun, and only just realised now what has to be done which is better than in the old movie which lacks suspense and drama.
This suspense is what the film director is trying to bring to us, the audience, unlike the book an audience watching a film will enjoy it more if every scene is a surprise. In the movie versions the storyline is shortened and only the necessary scenes are added to the film including the most dramatic scenes, which capture the mood of the film, this is a carefully edited sequence, which has been planned in detail over time to get the point across and generate a genuine effect on the audience.