The Ultimate Brokeback Forum

Poll

Which do you rate as 'better'?

The Film
207 (44.1%)
The Book
45 (9.6%)
Equal
194 (41.4%)
Haven't seen/read both yet
23 (4.9%)

Total Members Voted: 433

Author Topic: Film vs. Book -- Which was better?  (Read 167770 times)

Offline happycamper

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2006, 04:13:20 AM »
I really like the scene in the book where Ennis and Jack are talking about their families and then "start up" with each other. In the movie all of the dialog is about their relationship which serves to move the plot forward, but this scene in the book shows how they have settled into a comfortable kind of mature relationship as compared with their younger passions.

Offline bonnie

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2006, 04:22:30 AM »
I usually refuse to see movies based on stories/novels I've read, since they are usually butchered.
However, in this case, I saw the movie FIRST, then read the short story.
While I liked the story, and loved seeing how much was directly translated on screen, including a
lot of dialog, the story hardly hit me at all emotionally.
Did anyone else have this reaction? I tend to think that since the film hit me so hard, there wasn't much reaction left in me for the book.
 ???
Dude, would it have killed you to catch a couple of fish? :)

Offline wjp58

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2006, 07:36:02 AM »
Bonnie:

I think you're right.

I read the story first, but on the New Yorker website and very quickly (I was at the office).  I missed a lot (more on that in a minute).  But even so, many of the scenes were incredibly strong and the ending, especially the shirts, hit me like a ton of bricks. I had  to see the movie.  With some reservations, because I also usually hate what Hollywood does to good literature (but I love McMurtry so there was hope).

Well, of course, the movie was another ton of bricks, and  I somehow ended up on this website, and read some things others had posted about the story, and realized I had to read it the right way.

Which I did last night.  I was struck by several things.  One, that the movie was SO true to the spirit and just about everything else in the story.  Did Proulx have some kind of contractual power over the script?  Two, that the book was more explicit in terms of the same sex "coupling" than the movie.  And then one thing not in the movie (unless in some symbolic way that went by me) --  and how could I have not noticed this in the first reading? -- Jack's father pissing on him when he was a little kid.  Pissing on him!

I think both are very successful in their own respective media. I can't choose one or the other as "better."
"There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe..."

Offline wjp58

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2006, 08:54:51 AM »
One other thing.

At the beginning of the story.  The italicized part where we see Ennis years later about to leave his latest trailer.  I could swear that was NOT in the story when I first read it in The New Yorker.  Am I losing my mind?  Anybody?

I had two thoughts about that part.  In terms of craft I didn't like it.  But in terms of these characters that I have come to care so much about, I did.
"There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe..."

Offline mary

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2006, 09:10:08 AM »
One other thing.

At the beginning of the story.  The italicized part where we see Ennis years later about to leave his latest trailer.  I could swear that was NOT in the story when I first read it in The New Yorker.  Am I losing my mind?  Anybody?

I had two thoughts about that part.  In terms of craft I didn't like it.  But in terms of these characters that I have come to care so much about, I did.

You are correct, the it  italicized part was not in the New Yorker version.  As I recall the editors at the New Yorker didn't like it.  But Annie added it back when the story was published in Close Range.  I happen to love that part - if for no other reason than the fact that it has transformed the word 'suffused' for me.  Previously it was a word I would have used/thought seldom.  Now it's one of my favorite words.
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Offline wjp58

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2006, 09:25:09 AM »
Mary:

Thanks for clarifying that.  A small bit of my sanity restored.

And "suffused" really is a pretty good word.
"There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe..."

Offline Constans

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2006, 04:03:47 PM »
I'm surprised how hard it has been for me to answer the initial question - I though it would be the story all the way.  Like several people in this thread, taking their cue from Khai, I regretted the downplaying of the physical side of their relationship in the second part of the film - they didn't even need to provide another sex scene, just some of the dialogue from the motel scene and the final meeting ('That's one a the two things i need right now') - loosing this seems needlessly coy.

Yet, I also remember moments in the film that pointed up things I had actually missed in the story, or else really wanted to know more about:  the scenes following Ennis's divorce, for example - an almost maddening throwaway line in the story in the film given the treatment it surely necessitated as one of the turning points in their relationship.  Then there are the tiny little images or cinematic moves - Jack cleaning himself and his clothes in preparation for what he hopes will be their second night together;  the wonderful scene when the 'perfect moment' flashback moved from the young Jack gazing adoringly  after the departing Ennis to the haunted and desperate face of the older Jack, watching Ennis leave in very different circumstances.  Heartrending.

So, I'm going for equal.

patroclus

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2006, 04:53:22 PM »
'what he knew and what he tried to believe' - I just read that as sheer grief. He knew Jack was dead, it was over... but kept luxuriating in the feelings and fantasies and dreams of him being still with him, like in the first paragraph - 'suffused with pleasure'. Like anyone bereaved...

That's how I understood that part of the end

Offline bbbmedia

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #68 on: January 17, 2006, 05:02:21 PM »
I voted for the book for 2 reasons

1) I know how to read

2) I absolutely hated Cassie. In the story, Ennis has one line about "putting the blocks" on some woman. The movie inflates that one line into 3 scenes that slow down the story and add nothing to our knowledge about Ennis

INMOHO 
What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.

Offline kappadappa

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #69 on: January 17, 2006, 11:28:35 PM »
Jack cleaning himself and his clothes in preparation for what he hopes will be their second night together

It's so interesting how people can view things in different ways.  To me, it seemed like he was trying to wash away his shame at what they had done.

On a side note, this is one scene that gives me a continuity problem.  How do his clothes dry so fast?  It's obviously chilly up there, as Jack shivers in the stream, so they can't dry very quickly.  Did I miss something?  I'm sure I could conjure up some justification in my mind, but it did bug me.
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Offline mary

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #70 on: January 17, 2006, 11:31:39 PM »
On a side note, this is one scene that gives me a continuity problem.  How do his clothes dry so fast?  It's obviously chilly up there, as Jack shivers in the stream, so they can't dry very quickly.  Did I miss something?  I'm sure I could conjure up some justification in my mind, but it did bug me.

My take: It's the constant wind Annie writes about anf the long days of sunshine
never enough time, never enough....

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Offline wjp58

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #71 on: January 18, 2006, 07:50:57 AM »
And the low humidity. ;)
"There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe..."

Offline desperadum

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2006, 07:12:42 PM »
I don't know if this has been discussed before, but there were a few differences in the story and the book that I found interesting. The smallest were the name changes - Francine to Jennifer, Bill to Monroe. Pretty insignificant. One thing that struck me, though, was the stronger sexual current in the story as it progressed. During one of their "fishing" forays, Jack opens a bottle of whiskey, takes a slug, and says something like "That's one of two things I need right about now." I don't have the book in front of me at this moment, but more significantly, on their last trip together, there's a scene where they're talking about their families, and as they do so they're touching each other - Jack puts his hands between Ennis's legs, Ennis unbuttons Jack's shirt - and ultimately they "roll into the dirt" at which point Proulx writes about the "brilliant charge" of their infrequent couplings being accompanied by the spectre of time flying by. The time passage is achieved by the river rushing past, in several of these scenes, but I'm wondering if the filmmakers' choice not to emphasize the purely sexual aspect of their relationship after the hotel scene (other than a couple of references by Jack)was an artistic one, or if they (the writers, Ang Lee) felt they'd done that, and that anything further would be superluous and/or make the film less palatable for wider audiences. Has this come up in any interviews or any other material out there I might not have read?

Offline anzacbat

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2006, 08:24:11 PM »
I just purchased the audiobook from ITunes - read by Campbell Scott.  So far, its pretty nicely read.  Some rather immature reviews on their feedback site, but I gather its probably from kids, as I think ITunes is geared to youngsters.  Or at least I hope they're from kids!  If you're interested, check it out on the ITunes website.

Offline daannzzz

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #74 on: January 19, 2006, 01:02:31 PM »
After having seen the movie 3 times I purchased "Close Range" as I want to read the other stories as well. I read "Brokeback Mountain"  last night. I thought the film was better. Generally I prefer a novel of a movie as there is usually more to the story. Since this was a short story there was less to the story, though there were a few items in there that were not in the film. The story was much more spare than I expected in the way it is told though  there is lots going on and lots to think about. What I did like about the book was the motel scene. I really enjoyed that they talked a lot about it all at one time instead of spread out over the years but I can appreciate that McMurtry and Ossana were able to utilize that conversation the way they did. I think the thing that I found most fascinating was that, for me personally, Ennis in the short story is different. I liked that he seemed more talkative and a hair more open. I really liked that he acknowledged to himself, even though it took him a year to put it all together, what his feelings for Jack meant. I think he knew exactly what it meant and had accepted it, inside.I also appreciated the last sex scene they had in that it really did show how the passion had not died down whereas in the film it feels like the passion may have mellowed a bit. However I think the screenplay and direction and performace of by Heath Ledger in the film was the right way to go for the vision that Ang Lee had.