Literature: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982, Author: Stephen King)
Film: The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Director: Frank Darabont)
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
Whether reading the story or watching the film adaptation, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is a very compelling story that would spark interest of all types of people in the world. In regards to the story, it is a lot longer than what is considered a short story among the masses, but I believe that it is the perfect length in order to tell the story that Stephen King was trying to share with us. However, in my opinion, the film was a lot more engaging and entertaining than sitting there and reading the story. Just being able to see the characters come to life was a great experience in association specifically with this story because Stephen King gave such great character explanation and development that I had formed these pictures in my head of all the characters already, so seeing them on screen gave the pictures in my head a sense of validation. Except for the character of Red, who in the story was portrayed as a white, Irish man was portrayed in the film as Morgan Freeman, an African American man who was still Irish in the film, as his character had stated. It wasn’t a bad choice, actually I felt Morgan Freeman did an amazing job portraying Red, it was just one of those changes that shock you at the start, but then you realize it was a very good change.
On the subject of change, there were quite a few noticeable changes between Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and its film adaptation. One of these changes I stated above, which is Red’s character description in the film not completely matching his character description in the story. On the idea of character description, Andy’s character in the film was portrayed slightly different as well, since in the story he was described as a short, neat man while Tim Robbins, the actor who portrayed Andy, was a tall man. So just a slight description change there.
The film also showed a lot of the character Boggs, who was the main tormentor to Andy. In the story, Boggs was only mentioned once and then transferred out of Shawshank, leaving different “Sisters” to torment Andy. But in the film, Boggs was Andy’s main tormentor and only left the prison when he was senselessly beaten and paralyzed by the guards. The reason they changed this in the film, I believe, is merely to add that spark of entertain value. Who doesn’t want to see a scumbag get beaten up? Even if it’s by other scumbags. It was solely meant to keep people interested and engaged in the film. Another change that was made purely for entertainment and drama was when the warden shoots himself at the end of the movie to avoid prison. First thing, in the book there were three different wardens, not just the one, and second thing the warden ends up just retiring at the end of the book, not committing suicide. But the drama behind that is more entertaining and visually appealing to people when watching a film. Another big change I feel they made solely for drama purposes was how Brooks died in the story compared to the film. In the book, he simply died of old age in the elder home while in the film he hung himself because he couldn’t handle being out in society after being in prison for so long. Not only does that add drama, but it sends a message to the viewers about how much being in prison can affect your mind and sociological connections to the outside world. Finally, the fate of Tommy Williams is depicted much more dramatic and brutal in the film compared to the story. In the story, Tommy was merely sent away after revealing the information he had that could free Andy, while in the film he was gunned down and murdered by the warden. Just another example of adding more murder, entertain, and death to boost the audience’s interest level in the film they are watching. Now, I am not saying these changes were a bad thing to the film, it’s just merely an observation that these changes were made with entertainment purposes behind it.
Another one of the most crucial differences between the story and the film is how the endings differ between the two. Starting from the scene where Red finds the package that Andy left for him. In the story, Red goes to the location Andy told him about on a whim and after days of searching he comes across the package that Andy had left for him, while in the film adaptation Andy tells Red exactly where to find it and exactly what rock to look under. Then, after finding Andy’s note to meet in Mexico, the story ends with Red getting on the bus heading towards where Andy is to find him, leaving it open ended as to whether Red and Andy reunite or not. Compared to the film, we see Red get on the bus and head towards Andy, but instead of it ending there we see Red make it to Mexico and see Andy and Red reunite as the credits start to roll. Why add that into the ending? The reason simply stems from the idea that people want films to end on a happy note so they leave happy and uplifted and entertained. So seeing Red actually reunite with Andy makes the audience feel happier than if it was left open-ended and up to them to interpret.
Now, I felt that both the story and film adaptation of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption were great pieces of film and literature. Exciting and attention grabbing and just fun to read and watch. Even though changes were made to the story in the film adaption, it didn’t hurt the flow of the story or the meaning of the story, if anything it gave audiences a different type of perspective of the idea’s and story Stephen King wrote. Therefore, it was a successful film adaptation.