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Compare the opening sections of the two films versions of Of Mice and Men - the 1939 black and white film starring Lon Chaney Junior and Burgess Meredith, and the 1981 colour version starring Randy Quaid and Robert Blake.

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Introduction

Media assignment - Of Mice and Men Task: compare the opening sections of the two films versions of Of Mice and Men - the 1939 black and white film starring Lon Chaney Junior and Burgess Meredith, and the 1981 colour version starring Randy Quaid and Robert Blake. You should look at the sections from the beginning of each film to the point where in each one Lennie says, "I'm shutting up," on the night before they go down to the ranch. The 1939 version starts off with George and Lennie running away from a group of angry men. Both sets of people are running on foot, this is different in the 1981 film because the pursuers are on horseback. The 1939 film is obviously shot in a studio because the back projection is easy to make out, also there is no sense of distance between the chasers and the chased because they are never seen in the same shot because the studio is not big enough to have a long shot so all of the shots are close-ups. However the 1981 film it is shot outdoors and the pursuers are on horseback in the 1981 film to make it more exciting and to shorten the odds on George and Lennie's escape. ...read more.

Middle

This is a comical thing to say and produced some laughs while we were watching it but also shows that Lennie acts like a small child in the things that he says and does. Lennie obviously hero-worships George when he repeats everything George says and he is shown to be not so bright when he calls his own Aunt ma'am. George "moans" to Aunt Clara and the words are nearly exactly the same as when he moans to Lennie in the woods later on in this film and in the same place in the 1939 film. This could show that George is bitter about having Lennie tagging along with hi but the fact that he uses the same words again means that it is rehearsed and the words do not come from the heart so he does not really mean them. This also sets the scene for us when George says, "He ain't no kin." This tells us that George and Lennie are not related. The writer feels that he might need this scene in the film because Aunt Clara is mentioned later on and the fact that the film is intended for television where you get people watching who are not paying a lot of attention means that actions and characters need explaining more thoroughly. ...read more.

Conclusion

The choice of music is very important because the music nearly always has meaning, this can be as explained above or by the actual piece of music itself. "Red River Valley" is used again when George and Lennie are by the river and because it is a song about going home it suggests that George and Lennie are going t their new home, which will be the ranch. "New World Symphony" is used when George and Lennie are walking along after the visit to Aunt Clara's and the second chase. "New World Symphony" is based on a song "Going Home" which is used at funerals, this could mean that George and Lennie are on a trip to take one of them (Lennie) home for good. All the music is played on the harmonica, which is a plaintive instrument that amplifies the point that the songs are making. The last scene by the river are almost word-for-word the same in both films. The second film is an adaptation on the first film so this is to be expected. Even the acting of the four men is very similar and the moving around is the same. This could be because the adaptors of the second film have liked the way the first film does this part of the production and could not think of a better way to do it so they did it in exactly the same way as the first film. Ian Hunt 11MN ...read more.

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