From Page To Screen (63) The Shawshank Redemption

This week on From Page To Screen I'll be tackling The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King.

First let's discuss the Book.
Rita Hayword and The Shawshank redemption is a Novella written by Stephen King as part of his short story collection Different Seasons. The Novella was released August 27, 1982  by Viking Press.  The story is heavily based on 'God Sees the Truth, But Waits' by Leo Tolstoy. At the ending of the Different Season, there is a brief afterword written by Stephen King dated January 4, 1982. In it, he explains why he had not submitted the novellas for publication by themselves. He goes on to say that early in his career, his agents and editors expressed concern that he would be dismissed as someone who only wrote horror. However, due to his horror novels becoming quite popular they made him much in demand as a novelist. Since the novellas, did not deal with the supernatural, they were very difficult to publish at the time as there was not a mass market for "straight" fiction stories in the 25,000 to 35,000 word format. Thus, the idea was conceived by King and his Editor to publish the novellas together as "something different", hence the title of the book. Different Seasons includes 2 other stories later made into films. Those being Stand by Me (1986) & Apt Pupil (1998).

Let's take a look at some of the characters.
Red -  Narrator of the story. Red is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. He writes down the story of his friendship with Andy, his life in prison, and his hopes for the future. Red is a key figure inside prison as he can smuggle almost anything into the prison for a price that is.

Andy Dufresne - Andy is a former vice president of a bank in Portland, Maine whose been convicted of killing his wife and her lover (though innocent of the crimes). Andy is described as a short, neat, man with sandy blond hair. Andy eventually becomes the prison librarian and financial wizard. In exchange for protection & favors, Andy offers free tax advice to the guards and wardens. Andy is thirty years old when he arrives at Shawshank and approximately fifty-eight when he escapes.

Warden Norton -  Norton institutes the new “Inside-Out” program that forces prisoners to work on chain gangs to repair roads and buildings. Even though Warden Norton claims to be a devout Baptist, he accepts bribes from local construction companies so that the Inside-Out program won’t put them out of business. Warden Norton uses Andy’s financial expertise to hide his illegal earnings. Due to his greed overshadowing his sensibility he refuses to help Andy win a retrial even when brought evidence that would prove Andy's innocence. 

Now let's discuss the movie.
The Shawshank Redemption was filmed by Director Frank Darabont and released October 14, 1994 by  Paramount Pictures. The Shawshank Redemption cost $25 million to make and had initial profits of only 16 million. During Oscar season in 1995 The Shawshank Redemption was re-released in theaters earning it $9 million more in profit. The film recieved a 90% approval rating from critics upon release but it wasn't until making it to DVD and subsequently Television that The Shawshank Redemption exploded in popularity.

Major Differences Between The Book Film

The story unfolds over a 30 year period.
The story takes place over 19 years.
Red is a white Irish Man.
Red is black but likes to joke that he is Irish. 
The prison has a total of three wardens during Andy's time there.The prison has the same Warden the entire time.
Before Andy is arrested and convicted for murder he has a friend invest money under an assumed name . Andy funnels money into a secret account while in prison. He keeps the details hidden in a secret vault in the wall.
The crybaby prisoners are briefly mentioned near the end of the story. Were told that Andy wasn't one of them. Veteran prisoners bet on which newcomers will cry or make a fuss first.
Captain Hadley has a heart attack and retires as lead guard before Andy escapes.Captain Hadley is still lead guard after Andy's escape. He is arrested due to his crimes of brutality against the prisoners.
Brooks has a pet bird named Jake which is set free after he's granted parole. Unable to cope with freedom he hangs himself.The bird is a pet of another inmate. We later learn that Brooks dies in an Old Folks home.
Andy has a cellmate for a brief period of time. The prisoner complained of the cell having a horrible draft so he's removed. Andy remains alone afterward.Andy has a cell to himself the entire time.
Tommy is transferred to another prison after revealing to the Warden that he might have information that will reverse Andy's conviction.To silence Tommy the Warden orders Hadley to kill him under the pretense that he saw him trying to escape.
After Red receives parole he finds Andy's note and decides to make a run for it to meet him in Mexico. We never learn if he successfully makes it. Red is paroled and remembers Andy telling him about Mexico. He locates the box with cash inside exactly where he said. We later see the pair relaxing on a beach in Mexico.
After Andy escapes Warden Norton tears down his poster of Linda Rondstat in frustration not knowing it concealed the hole he escaped from. Out of frustration the Warden chucks a rock at the poster of Raquel Welch. When the rock goes through the poster his escape tunnel is found.
After Andy escapes and the shady dealings in the prison uncovered Warden Norton resigns. As police arrive to arrest Warden Norton for his crimes we see him committing suicide by shooting himself in the head.
These are the biggest changes I noticed when the Novella was taken From Page to Screen. Which however do I prefer? This week I have to give it to the movie. I simply loved Morgan Freeman in the role of Red. I also think it flowed better since several minor interactions between Andy and the prisoners were omitted or changed. It's not that they were bad just very detailed and drawn out for no real reason. The only thing I really enjoyed about the Novella more was Tommy. It was hard to see him killed in the film but I get why they did it even if I didn't like it. Overall, see the film and read the novella if you get the chance. 
Still not convinced? Check out the trailer below! 
Well that about wraps up this weeks From Page To Screen. Have a recommendation for an upcoming From Page To Screen, let me know in the comments below!

Have you read the book or watched the film? 
Which did you like better? Why? 
What is your favorite quote or scene from The Shawshank Redemption? 
Do you think Tom Hanks would of made a better Andy?

Leave your answers in the comments below, I love to read your responses. Like what you see? Please share!


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