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Of Mice and Men – A Comparison Between the Book and Film

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The name of this book/movie is ‘Of Mice and Men’. The book was written by John Steinbeck, and the movie was directed by Gary Sinise (also stars as George). I will be comparing the movie and book, to see the differences and how effective they are.

George and Lennie are men who travel around working at ranches. George is the small, quick-witted one, and Lennie is the big, slow, dumb and extremely strong one. They have a dream, to have a little place all to themselves, without anyone bothering them. Their dreams are shattered though, when Lennie, who doesn’t know his own strength, gets in trouble.

The book starts with Lennie and George travelling towards the ranch, after the incident with Lennie and the girl in the red dress in Weed has already happened, but the movie starts with Lennie and George running away from other guys in Weed, who were chasing them because Lennie has scared the girl in the red dress. I think that the reason they changed the starting is because it doesn’t catch the audience at the start of the movie without some action, and it would be a pretty boring start to a movie just having George and Lennie talking about what had happened.

When Curley finds George in the barn with his wife and when he’s complaining that he can’t keep up with Lennie, it adds tension between the characters because it gives Curley a very good reason to dislike them, and the tension grows throughout the movie until there’s the climax and release point where Curley attacks Lennie, and Lennie crushes his hand. When Lennie kills Curley’s wife, a bird is shown escaping the barn. I think this is symbolic of the need to escape, which Lennie does. I don’t really think it adds a lot of effect to the movie, and I don’t think many people would have picked it up unless they were actually looking for it.

Two of the scenes that were in the movie but not in the book were where George and Lennie get forced off the bus and have to walk ten miles to get to the ranch, and at the start, where George and Lennie are shown escaping from Weed. These are only spoken about in the book, and I think are actually put in the movie to create less dialogue and more action.

Some scenes and details were also left out of the movie that were in the book. One example of this is when Lennie has the hallucinations about the giant rabbit and his Aunt Clara. I think this was taken out because it was a very emotional and suspenseful scene, and it would have made it comical to put it in, which would have ruined the mood. Another example is how long it takes for George to shoot Lennie. I think it was made shorter to add an element of surprise to the shooting, but by shortening this it makes it so that it lacks the suspense and emotion that was originally in the book, so I think they should have kept it in the movie.

Music is used very effectively in the movie, and was used in the right spots. During the work scenes, the music was medium paced, and happy. When George and Lennie were escaping from Weed, the music was faster paced, and suspenseful. Silence was also very effective, especially after George had shot Lennie. It gave the effect of shock and sadness. Another effective thing used in this movie is camera shots and angles. Wide shots are usually used in the start or end of a scene and don’t usually have dialogue during them, medium shots can be used when there is a group of people talking, and close ups are probably the most effecting show of emotion, because you can see the actor’s face expression clearly. Close ups can be effective when the actor is silently thinking.

I think both the book and the movie had their flaws. The book took a while to get into the story, but the movie lacked certain times of suspense or emotion.

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