Film vs Book

Film vs Book

The film versions of the books One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Breakfast at Tiffany’s amply testify to the fact that it is pragmatic and necessary for the film versions to be different from the actual books on which the films are based so as to bring out the appeal and context of the overall plot as per the requirements of the cinematic genre (McFarlane 164). In that context there tend to be marked differences between the book and the film version of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The book tends to deal with the plight of a mental institution in 1963. The movie got released in 1975, which is about 12 years after the book got published. Before delving into the differences between the movie and the book, one does need to know that the movie version of the book was utterly successful that won all the five major categories of Academy Awards. The primary thing is that the book is dominated by the point of view of Chief Bromden, a gigantic Indian, who is in the same ward with McMurphy. It is true that the writer Ken Kesey backed out from the film project when he came to know that the point of view of Chief Bromden had been removed from the movie and he no more stands to be the narrator in the film version of the book. It goes without saying that this alteration of the point of view in the book and the movie lead to major differences in the book and the film version of the story. When one reads the book with Chief Bromden being the chief narrator, the overall mood tends to be quiet slow and poised. The narration facilitated by Chief Bromden delves into the essential traits, characteristics and inclinations of the varied characters in the asylum in a threadbare, sophisticated and lilting manner. However, it is but natural to assume that in the film version of the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the producer had to adapt the storyline in consonance with the needs and requirements of the cinema. The film version of the book simply does not afford to be slow paced and languid as the book. Yet, if one reads the book before watching the movie one does miss the edgy, disturbed and cynical point of view facilitated by Chief Bromden as he says, If my being half Indian ever helped me in any way in this dirty life, it helped me being cagey, helped me all these years (Kesey 4). However, in the film version of the book, it is the trio of McMurphy, Nurse Ratched and Chief Bromden that bring out the story. The film version simply sets aside the pain and hurt inherent in Chief Bromden reveries, to display a larger view that incorporates an array of characters, thereby relying on the variety and the interactions between varied characters to move the story forward. Hence, if on the one side the plot in the book is poised, slow, emphatic and gripping, the storyline in the movie happens to be racy, action-oriented, emotive and multi-faceted, exactly the way it ought to be in a successful movie. The film versions do have their limitations and one simply could not expect a film version to stick diligently to the storyline and plot as it is given in the book (McCreadie 126).

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