Friday, June 1, 2012

Shawshank Redemption - 1994



This is one of my absolute favorite movies.  It is also one of the most amazing adaptations of all time.  It is quite possible to read the story or watch the movie and get the same exhilaration.

I have written about two other novellas' turned movies from the same collection, "Different Season" by Stephen King.  Each tackles a season of the year.  "Stand By Me" is the summer story.  "Apt Pupil" is the fall story.  The winter story is "The Breathing Method" and hasn't been adapted yet. 

(Listen up Rob Reiner and Frank Darabont, I would so go see that movie so make it already!)

The spring story is "The Shawshank Redemption" and it is glorious.  It is the movie to bring up when people say that hate Stephen King. 

I wrote a little about this movie when I wrote about "Pulp Fiction".  Mostly my husband's reluctance to see it.   But he has since added it to his top films as well.  When they have the TNT marathons where it is shown continuously for a weekend, we watch it several times.  Even edited for content it is a great movie.

I could do a lot of fan girl gushing.  This movie didn't do well in the box office, only making $28 million and found it's success on video.  But I contributed to that opening.  It is majestic on the big screen.  It is one of those rare movies that is three hours long and doesn't feel like it.  There is not a wasted moment.

In fact there are countless great moments.





Tim Robbins' calm and mannered portrayal of Andy Dufrense.  While he wasn't what I imagined from the story, where he is described as a small, rather slight man, he embodies the spirit.





Morgan Freeman is even less like the character description.  In the story he was a red-headed Irishman, hence the "Red" nickname.  But Freeman brings an elegance to this hardened character that elevates it to masterpiece.  He should have won the Academy Award for his voice over alone.  I loved Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump but Morgan was amazing.





The things they added to the movie were fantastic.  The other cons expanded the first person account of Red's relationship with Andy.  They became a de facto family that brought Andy into their fold.





They speed up the friendship which is good.  In the book, Andy is in prison for a lot longer.  It takes almost ten years for Andy and Red to be close.  That would have slowed the move way down.





The final parole hearing is great.  

1967 Parole Hearings Man: Ellis Boyd Redding, your files say you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?
Red:Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.
1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society...
Red: I know what *you* think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made up word. A politician's word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?
1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, are you?
Red: There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bull$hit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a $hit.


I thought of this some years back when I was being interviewed for a promotion.  I had applied and been passed over six times.  Let that sink in.  SIX TIMES!  I kept applying but was getting discouraged.  When I was up for it for the SEVENTH time I cynically brought up the movie and talked about the parallels between it and my situation. 





I got the promotion. 

I have been trying to make it to Ohio for the last 18 years to visit the prison and walk the grounds.  I wanted to venture out to a hayfield and see the infamous tree. 







Sadly it was destroyed last year in a storm.  But I will get there and write about it.  I have a crazy cat lady friend who happens to have red hair who has promised to go with me.  So some day I will walk the halls of Shawshank with my own Red, (and my husband too). 

Today is Morgan Freeman's birthday.  I think in honor of this I better pull out that DVD and give it a watch.   I can't even begin to name all the fantastic moments in this movie.  I didn't even mention Tommy or the warden or Hadley AKA the hardest screw.  I definitely need to watch it. 

But there is a quote that I use all the time and only my husband gets it.  And it is pure Stephen King.

Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

10 comments:

  1. You HAVE to come to Ohio...the tour is amazing. I wish the tree were still there, but to be honest, it was on private land and the owner wouldn't let people get close, so that's no biggie.

    This summer?? Come! Ohio doesn't have much else, but you need to come anyway!!

    (DiAnne)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just tried doing a practice comment from Chrome and it didn't go through (I did the same thing I did on IE to write the above comment; type the comment, click on "google account" then preview and Google signe dme in and then it published). No luck...it just always deletes my comment without letting me sign in (even if I sign in before coming to your blog, it won't remmeber me).

    So, do ya really think your silly little blog is worth the hassle of me using (gasp) Internet Explorer? Ayup. :)

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  3. This movie is even BETTER than King's novella. I think it's the ONLY story that I feel this way about. Oh wait, 1408 I enjoyed as a film more so as well. That's IT. Darabont and Reiner should be the only two film makers to adapt King's work.:) great blog, Jo! Ceej

    ReplyDelete
  4. DiAnne you are making me feel special! Ceej, there are only a handful of movies that I think out do the book. It is rare for a King story to even come close. This one is awesome. You know it is special when it changes the way you read the book. Shawshank does that.

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