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Hemingway’s, A Farewell To Arms: Does The Film Do Justice To The Novel?

854 words - 3 pages

A Farewell to Arms, published in 1929, is a classic short story written by Ernest Hemingway about the hardships and cruelties of love and war. In 1932, a film adaptation of the novel was developed by Director Frank Borzage and nonetheless the unquestionable originality of his photography as well as for his excellent directorial concepts; Borzage misses on many levels of Hemingway’s brilliant description and significant dialogue between the main character Lieutenant Frederic Henry and his fellow Italian officers. The film is voiced and positioned towards the eyes of Borzage rather than the story of Hemingway and the incidents are frequently noticeable throughout the film. But to be reasonable, the novel is a difficult task, considering that the story is told in the first person. If anyone has not read Hemingway’s, A Farewell to Arms, the film will appeal as a rather interesting tragic romance but in some of the scenes, however, the producers take this for granted and assume that the spectator has read the book before. My argument is that the film misses on many of the important aspects that Hemingway’s print version offers. The film does not do justice to the book. Director Frank Borzage focuses merely on the romance characteristics of the story, ignoring the brutalities of war, skipping over many scenes, trying to enhance the melancholy approach to the book.
The films explanations skip too quickly for my liking, from one chapter to another and the sufferings and understandings of Lieutenant Henry are passed over too brusquely, being advised rather than voiced. Violence within the film is drastically censored, in fact there is no recollections of the violence and brutality of war and in some scenes, Borzage does not even attempt to show the wounded, but contents himself by depicting what the wounded man sees, for example, the faces from above him, the hospital ceiling. Also in the film, a viewer is confused as to where the characters are in the film, and when Lieutenant Henry decides to escape from Italy to Switzerland the glimpse of him getting into a boat is not recollected within the novel as Henry goes to Milan to find Catherine so they can leave for Switzerland together. The confrontation between Catherine and Henry appears to gather up hastily within the film and whenever Catherine and Frederic begin to acknowledge their love for one another, the melodrama comes forth and the story becomes intolerably sentimental. To me, it seemed as if the director feared he...

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