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Of Mice and Men: Comparing 2 films version

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Of Mice and Men: Comparing 2 films version (1939, 1981) John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a book exploring into the lives of two migrant workers, George and Lennie and their dream of one day setting up their own ranch and as Lennie would say "Live of the fat of the land". This for men like George and Lennie would allow them to be their own masters and live a free life away from rules and the ability to be canned. Both film versions of Of Mice and Men begin with a chase scene showing George and Lennie being pursued by a group of angry workers wielding powerful weapons; however the manner in which they are chased differs greatly. In the 1939 film starring Lon Chaney Junior and Burgess Meredith, George and Lennie are chased by men with dogs running on foot. Earlier in the film there were signs that something bad would happen. The black mushroom cloud symbolized that a bad event has occurred and possibly something bad will happen in the future. Also the rabbits scurry in all directions, just as George and Lennie arrive running away from the chasing group of workers giving the notion that all is not well. On the other hand in the 1981 film starring Randy Quaid and Robert Blake the pursuers are on horseback and the chase scene is shot in a field rather than the woods used in the earlier film. ...read more.


I feel it is easier somewhat for George to leave Lennie in this film because he knows Aunt Clara is there to take care of him, he could not have done this in the 39 film because Aunt Clara had died. This additional scene which has been added to the 1981 television film was in my opinion included to give an insight into the back story and aid the understanding of the viewers about George's frustration. Unlike the earlier film the colour version of Of Mice and Men is to be shown on American television rather than at the cinema this is why they chose to superimpose the credits. The superimposing of credits is when credits are shown at the bottom of the television screen whilst the action continues above. This was done to prevent American viewers from changing the television channel and the ratings of this particular channel from dropping. The credits in the black and white movie were filmed using back projection and a wipe method which is when the one set of credits replaces the earlier ones as an object passes the moving train. After these finish the famous phase from Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse is projected onto the door of the train the phrase is as follows: "The best laid schemes Of Mice and Men gang aft a gley and leave us naught but grief and pain" This short phrase taken from Robert Burns' poem implies how like in his poem the best laid schemes of mice and men often go wrong. ...read more.


Lennie is upset by this and he shows this by making several defensive gestures, he curls his body together as if protecting himself from George and by screwing up his eyes he gives the vibe of upsetness. In addition Lennie even threatens to go and live by himself in the mountains During all of this drama no music whatsoever is used to help portray the characters emotions. Also we know that this scene has been filmed upon a set due to the fact that echoes can be heard of the characters voices. Finally in this opening sequence George tells Lennie once again about their dream of setting up their own ranch with rabbits, alfalfa etc. The scene in the brush in the 1981 film is mostly the same as the 39 film except for several things one of them being the fact that the scene filmed onsite. Another is that a lot more music is used to emphasis the video. One song being the "Red River Valley" a song also used earlier in the movie, this is particularly used when George describes their dream ranch to Lennie whilst sitting by the water. Along with the music insect noises are also played. After studying both opening sections I would say that I prefer the 1939 black and white film, I would say this because it is more closely linked to the book and it is easier to compare them. Whereas the 81 film is more based on the 39 film rather than the book by John Steinbeck. Vishal Mehta 11SM ...read more.

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