Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Film vs. Novel
The film is severely different from the novel, as the director, Gary
Sinise, made deliberate changes to influence the audience's feelings
and reactions. He has altered and added scenes as he saw this as
necessary to create the right kind of atmosphere and to keep the plot
The whole story is about two men, George and Lennie. These are very
two very different characters; the novel describes them as opposites.
Lennie is a very large and burly while George is 'small and quick'. In
the book they wear exactly the same thing, but as the film has to rely
on devices and stereotypes to pass the message across quickly, they
dress Lennie in dungarees to show how different they area and to show
the childlikeness of Lennie.
There is a problem with Lennie; he has a child's mind. This causes
many problems for the pair and results in Lennie's unavoidable death.
There are two things that cause these many problems- one being the
fact that Lennie likes to stroke soft things. When he was young, his
aunt Clara had given him a piece of velvet (it only makes you wonder
if he hadn't have lost that, his life might have been saved.) Because
of his "condition", he likes to keep mice. But once again his strength
is a problem. When he's scared he holds onto things, so, when the mice
bite him he crushes them to death.
These problems echo through the story, Curly's hand, the pup and
ultimately Curly's wife.
There are three particular differences, the beginning and the end and
In the beginning of the novel, the author sets the scene quite
vividly, and explains it in explicit detail.
In the beginning of the film there are white credits on a black
background this creates a sombre atmosphere. The music is melancholy
with a distinct ostinato- the piano comes in when the title appears.
The length of the credits creates tension. The credits slowly melt
into a scene on a train; the music changes also as the sound effects
of the train merge into the soundtrack.
Slowly the music disappears; there is a light that flashes past the
wooden side of the cabin. This reminds you slightly of a prison, the
light being searchlights and the wooden side the bars of a cell.
Suddenly the music restarts as the image of George sitting on the
train appears. It is still in black and white to keep it sombre then
to emphasise the fact it bursts into colour; this makes the audience
sit up and pay attention. As this happens, cymbals crash- the film has
started properly, the music has returned but it has changed, it has
built up, and gained more instruments. The director chose this type of
music to create tension and a sorrowful atmosphere; this causes the
audience to become jumpy and sad.
The red dress of the girl signifies danger, it is torn quite severely
but the white underwear could symbolise innocence. As she runs past
the camera she is panting and crying and as she...