The Bridge Flop Essay, Research Paper
And I m afraid we re in for a rather stormy passage (Boulle 36). Is the book better than the movie? In many cases, yes, and this is one such case. The book version of The Bridge Over the River Kwai, by Pierre Boulle, is far superior to that of the filmed version, produced by Sam Spiegel. Between the excess, unintelligible scenes, to the poor characterization and casting, to the faulty description of events, the film of Boulle s masterpiece is hardly worthy of his credit, for it is not what he would have intended it to be. The sequence if scenes, characterization, and explanation of happenings in The Bridge Over the River Kwai are much more effective in Boulle s printed version, as opposed to the film version, directed by Spiegel.
The printed edition of The Bridge Over the River Kwai takes place almost entirely in the jungle by the River Kwai, the site of the bridge, or in the headquarters of Force 316. The movie has many added scenes, including one in which Shears is on the beach with a nurse, trying to court her back to his room. Boulle never included a female character in his book, for one was not needed. Such interjections are not necessary. The book did not include such frivolous pieces of scenery or characters to add on the time needed for a film. Such plot differences helped to deteriorate the strength of what is a war movie. Shears also escaped from the prisoner of war camp in the movie. According to the original writing, Shears never escaped, in fact, he was ever even in the slave camp. [Colonel Green] called for Major Shears, an ex-cavalry officer who had been transferred to Force 316 at the time that special unit had been formed (64).
Along with Shears never have being in a prisoner of war camp, he was also never a fraud. When the Houston sunk, I made it to shore with an officer, a real commander. And then we ran into a Japanese patrol and he was killed so I took his uniform in hopes of better treatment from at (the camps) (Movie). Such character flaws, or alterations, weakened the characters. In the book, Shears was a respectable man who went on the sabotage mission because he wanted to end the war. According to the film, Shears only wanted to avoid being court marshaled. His change in character made his role less appealing and less worthy of sympathy, for he was not a willing component of Force 316. Colonel Saito also appeared a little less complete in the film. The rapid mood swings he was prone to have in the book were more subtle and easily missed on camera. Colonel Saito is also lot easier to understand in print, rather than in voice. Many monologues of the Japanese officer are unable to be understood due to the thick accent.
Incomprehensible accents are only one of the problems with the film. Many events that took place were cloudy in meaning. The intentional sabotage of the bridge by Colonel Nicholson s troops was not very evident on tape. The book fully explained what was going on. It did not take him long to spot the outrageous mistakes intentionally committed by his men (53). The movie simply showed the beginnings of the bridge falling; not an obvious sign of sabotage. When Shears escapes from the prisoner of war camp, he finds his way to a native village, where the inhabitants help him return to good health. The purpose of this is unclear, for it has no apparent bearing on the outcome of the story. A note of explanation would be much appreciated. Joyce was chosen to be involved in the bridge-bombing mission because of his superior skill in training school. Shears could find nothing but praise for Joyce, whom he had selected from the Calcutta school (98). Spiegel s depiction is that of a more simple choice; Joyce was there at the time of the choosing. When it later comes an issue of his capabilities, as to whether or not he could carry out his mission in the face of danger, it is less understandable as to why they picked him.
Book versus movie, which one is better? For those who can take the time to sit back and read, it book will be more worthwhile. There may be exceptions, but in most cases, as in The Bridge Over the River Kwai, the book is the true version, the better version, of what is intended of the story. Faulty scenes, poor characters, and under explained events deteriorate the movie. It flashed again. It was last night s vision a heading endlessly repeated in huge shining letters: the word DESTRUCTION (199).