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Graham Greene's writing is uniquely narrated in his novel The Quiet American, based on the political unrest encountered in Vietnam in the 1950s. Having been introduced by Robert Stone, he discusses the Vietnam War and its obvious effect on the lives of Americans afterward. The presentation has a joke as embodied by Stone that the only silent American is a dead American." It clearly explains the divergent views expressed by the author as opposed to his previous 'Catholic' works, even though the existential questions remain at the forefront (West 88). The novel is in a better place to highlight and depict the diplomatic dynamics that come with these conflicts. The following is a comparative analysis of the novel and film The Quiet American detailing. The disparities and common aspects between the two different forms of art (Hand et al. 90).
The film is set in a way reflecting more on desire as compared to the book that broadly addressed politics of the previous eras which in essence was not addressed in the basics. Dialogues in the novel involving the three lead characters are misappropriated according to the stakeholders' (in this case the production) main agenda especially where some scenarios gain more intensity, others less, as opposed to the author's context on the same; for instance, the triangular relationship amongst the three main characters are placed into the foreground and the very frequent clashes in ideology between Pyle and Fowler are maintained in the background (Yuling 84).
The latter, framed in long dialogue passages in the novel are quite abbreviated in the film. As opposed to written words, the films use enhanced visual depiction of Saigon as well as the Vietnamese countryside. Here it is noticeable that Greene, in his novel was quite limited in visual depiction and instead sought to better incorporate literal cues as seen in the description of the battle-torn town, which is Phat Diem. The novel as such is able to create a reality, deeper per se, with the use of words; the same for films is quite limited as the audience mostly appreciates visual cues more. This is backed by the fact that the camera is only a mechanism recording the look of things passively as opposed to the in-detail capturing of ideas in books. Character alterations are seen quite much as Robert Schenkkan, a screenwriter in this particular film narrates how they had to correct Pyles reputation as a way to show some respect and shape his character realistically. More scenes developed in the book are seemingly quite hectic to develop on film and are this easier omitted. A key scene involved the three lead characters at Fowler's apartment where Pyle's dog is relatively displeasingly comfortable roaming freely. The quite comic scene can hardly be reproduced on film, rather, be translated into a film equivalent.
It is true to say that a cinematic scene flashed on the screen a few moments would need several pages to describe (Evans 98). As such, reading the same will call for greater involvement of the reader and of course, initially, the author. As a result, the book is preferred and described as having more gravitas and is more demanding of the reader than the movie is for the viewer. The film was further reversed on the critical issue regarding Greene's political stand which was somehow ignored and as such had less impact on Noyce's film production. Most of the disparities stem from the fact that the book was written in the first person whilst the film in the third person, thus presenting two contrasting though relatively similar narrations. There had to be extra scenes not present in the book as the production seemed to address its particular audience, a mainstream one for this particular production. It used the third person in order to give a better-rounded depiction of the events and further give allowance to finding out other characters' thoughts and sentiments. These thoughts are what essentially beats allowance for slightly differing interpretations of the main characters.
Young screenwriters of the new era mostly lack the familiarity with conceptual literature as opposed to the previous generations. These screenwriters are thus more prone to misrepresenting some facts and concepts on film. However, many would argue that the film incorporating new different concepts is an art but the whole issue is that there is at most times distortion of the original message in one way or another. It is notable that a majority of people have switched from reading books to only watching films in this new era. It is considerably better having read the book first before seeking to watch a film derived from the former as most of the fundamentals emphasized in the novel can hardly be practiced on film as noted in the aforementioned illustrations from The Quiet American. Although it has been duly noted that there are numerous disparities in the film and book's thematic concerns and ways of expression, the film has played an informative role on the 1950's Indochina conflicts and the role of the United States besides other countries in the same.
Evans, Robert O. Graham Greene: some critical considerations. University Press of Kentucky, 2015. Print.
Hand, Richard J., and Andrew Purssell. Adapting Graham Greene. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Print.
West, William John. The Quest for Graham Greene: A Biography. St. Martin's Press, 2015. Print.
Yuling, X. I. A. "Graham Greene in China: From the Translation of The Quiet American." Foreign Language and Literature 3 (2015): 021. Print.
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