During this essay we will be looking at the novel of “mice and men” written by John Steinebeck, and comparing it to the film directed by Gary Sinse, who stars in it himself alongside John Malcolvich. This film was created in 1992. The novel was derived from an idea taken from the poem “to a mouse” written by Robert Burns. In the novel chapter one takes place on a riverside beach where Lennie and George arrive on their way to the ranch, just up the road, where they will work the next day. The two men decide to stay the night on this spot, and will go to the ranch in the morning.
Chapter two begins with the men arriving at the ranch where they are greeted by Candy, one of the characters from the ranch, who works as the swamper. Candy shows the men to their bunkhouse, which is very basic. Lennie and George meet the boss of the ranch who is angry with them for not being at the ranch the night before, so they could work the next morning like their wok cards told them to. Lennie has a run in with the boss’s son Curley who sets on Lennie when he doesn’t say anything to him, as George told Lennie the previous night to keep his mouth shut.
George and Lennie meet Slim and the other characters from the ranch. The appearance of Lennie and George in the film is how the novel uses the narrator to describe them, and the settings of the scenes are also tie in with the novel. In the film from the start we are shown that the role of George is to look out for Lennie, as even from the start chase scene where the two are escaping from Weed, Lennie is being hurried along, being looked after and told what to do by George. In the novel we are told that the two men are dropped off in Soledad from the coach from Weed, in the film this is included as part of a scene.
Although it occurs in different parts of the novel and the film, the scene where Lennie is with George, he pulls a dead mouse from his pocket, George takes the mouse off Lennie and tosses it into the brush, this is include in both the film and novel. Another set of dialogue, which appears in both the novel, and film is the dialogue where George tells Lennie they have beans for supper, Lennie hassles George about how he likes it with ketchup, even when he is told they haven’t got any, the two argue, and Lennie threatens to leave George and go live in the mountains.
Also in this scene both in the novel and the film, the dialogue where Lennie asks George to tell him the story about what they will do in the future, how they will by land, and small house, with animals including rabbits which Lennie gets excited about. Chapter two is very similar from the novel to the film. At the beginning of the scene Candy the swamper greets Lennie and George. The two see the boss, and the bunkhouse as in the novel, and the incident with Curly arises. George asks the questions about the insect killer he finds next to his bunk, and the two men settle in.
A while after the Curly’s wife comes into the bunkhouse as in the novel, Lennie looks at her, and says she’s pretty. As in the novel George tells Lennie to stay away from her. The beginning of the film begins with a chase scene where Lennie and George are being hunted out of Weed, where the two escape from the men and dogs. In the town of Weed the men enter Murray and Readys where the receive work cards to work on the ranch bucking barley bags, this is mentioned in the dialogue in the novel.
George and Lennie then take a bus to Soledad where they are dropped off, when they could have stayed on the bus and gone the whole way to the ranch. The next scene is where Lennie has his dead mouse taken away from him, which upsets him. After the two men settle by the river for the night. The next part of the film is where they travel to the ranch and meet Candy, who takes them to the boss’s house. The boss is angry with the two men for being late. Candy then takes them to the bunkhouse, this is where we see curly for the first time, and he has a confrontation with Lennie.
George and Lennie settle in, next they meet Slim, one of the characters from the ranch, have dinner then begin work in the afternoon, bucking barley sacks. The start of the novel is rather different to the film in many ways, of which some I will describe. The start of the film shows George and Lennie escaping from the old ranch in weed with the angry workers chasing after them as they hide in an irrigation ditch escaping there death. The beginning of the novel doesn’t start with them running away from Weed; it starts off by the pool before they get to the ranch.
The start of the film was written especially for the film and wasn’t in the novel. This is a new scene they have added to the beginning of the film, which wasn’t in the book I think they did this to try and clearly explain why the two men are on the run and to make a dramatic start instantly grabbing the watchers eye. When they are walking to the ranch along a road the bus which they took to a nearby town drives past them which wasn’t in the book as the book starts off later on, when there by the pool.
These extra scenes were probably added as a new start because the start in the book is somewhat unclear. When filmmakers are making a film out of a novel they often change scenes around, put them in a different order or merge them together. This is done to shorten the film so they can use different scenes in the book and merge them together in the film saving time as the novel is much longer than the film and the film cant possibly last as long as the novel.
In the film of mice and men they have tried to do this. The scene where George takes the dead mouse off Lennie and throws it away is in a different order, in the novel he throws the mouse away when they are by the pool where they camp the night, but in the film George takes the mouse off Lennie before they get to the pool and he throws it away into a bush on there way to the new ranch along the road where the bus drives past.
Lennie always for gets where they are going and asks George where they are going in the film before it comes in the book. In the book When they arrive at the ranch candy shows them to the bunkhouse straight away before they see the boss, in the film they meet candy then go straight to the bosses office who isn’t too pleased that they are late. They might of done this in the film to straight away give the impression that the ranch isn’t such a nice place as the boss suspects George of stealing Lennies pay.
Some of the scenes are changed around from the novel to the film, in the novel the two men met the boss when he walks into the bunkhouse but in the film they go to the bosses office straight away to see him. When they enter the ranch after spending the night under the stars they are greeted by candy the old man who takes them to the bosses office. In the novel they meet candy inside the bunkhouse. Also in the novel they meet slim one of the workers on the ranch inside the bunkhouse but on the film they all go outside to have lunch where they meet slim and talk to him and candy.
These Setting and scenes may have been changed around to make the film more interesting and to keep the eyes amused, having more scenes and different settings is more interesting than in the novel where most of the things I have just described happen in the bunkhouse which Is ok in the novel but in the film this would soon bore the watches and isn’t as interesting as a change in scene. Because of the new scene at the beginning of the film there is new dialog not in the novel, which has been especially written for the film. There is also new dialog when the bus drives past and George shouts “sun of a bitch”.
In a novel a narrator is used and is necessary to describe the way people do things, say things, the appearance of things and places. Whereas in a film a narrator is not needed as these things can be shown in the pictures, and the way people say and do things, like in dialogue and the places settings described. In an attempt to try and shorten the film compared to the novel bits of scenes and dialog are missed out. When they are at the pool George tells Lennie not to drink so much “Lennie for god’s sake don’t drink so much”.
This is missed out of the film. Also Lennie makes ripples in the pool and sits there proud of what he has done showing George this is missed out of the film to shorten it as it is not necessary. When they spend the night near the pool George tells Lennie to not say a word when they are speaking to the boss the next day, he makes him repeat himself so he doesn’t forget, this is missed out of the film as is when they have spoken to the boss George shouts at Lennie for speaking which nearly lost them the job in the film this doesn’t happen and is missed out.
That night by the pool in the novel where George threw the mouse away Lennie tries to go and get it but in the film George throws the mouse away in a different scene and Lennie doesn’t try to retrieve it. In the film its doesn’t show them eating the beans as described in the novel before they go to sleep. In the novel candy listens to their conversation in the bunkhouse and George tells him not to listen in, but he says he won’t tell anyone, this isn’t shown in the film.
Later on in the bunkhouse, George is playing cards and slim walk in and shouts “hi good-looking” to Curlys wife this is missed out in the film and George never plays cards. Overall I think the film was an extremely good exempt to turn the novel into a film. I consider the way that the actors portrayed the characters from the novel, interoperating the smallest details of each person to create the perfect partnership between the two men, which is apparent in the novel.
I feel that the settings chosen for the film were also very well selected to fit in with this description from the novel. As we only compared the first two scenes of the novel to the film, we didn’t watch much of the film, so cannot really criticise it as haven’t been able to get a good idea of how well the film was made, although from what I have seen so far I cannot seem to find any criticism.
I feel he changes made did not alienate any part of the story, if anything increased the excitement, as it is easy to grow bored when watching a film, but I didn’t grow tiresome of this production. I enjoyed the layout of the film, it flowed at a steady pace but didn’t rush the story so was easy to grasp the story line. Not at any point was the film confusing or complicated. It was easy to watch and kept me interested throughout.