Friday, November 15, 2013

'The Body' to 'Stand By Me': An Intermediate Film Adaptation

Rob Reiner achieves an intermediate film adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, “The Body” with his film 'Stand By Me' by remaining fairly close to the fabula, but leaving out elements essential to the meaning and themes of the original story. One of these elements is the junkyard scene. The junkyard is symbolic for the fall of the American dream, a powerful symbol setting up the social commentary that is evident throughout the novella. The junkyard is full of thrown away household items, such as beds and a doll that appears to be “giving birth to her own stuffing.” This is King attacking American society and the fragility of the American dream. Reiner abandons King’s social commentary in this scene by filling the junkyard with cars, stripping the story of its deeper, original meaning. Because of this, Reiner’s adaptation cannot be a close one.

Rob Reiner also alters the endings of Vern and Teddy. The novella takes on a dark tone as Gordie, as the speaker, tells his reader that Vern and Teddy lead a gang, Vern died in a fire after a house party, and Teddy died in a car crash along with his passengers. They were unable to escape from the corrupt society that brought them up, and they died as a part of that society, as the men they never wanted to become. Reiner lightens up the tone of the story and continues to abandon King’s social commentary by keeping Vern and Teddy alive. In the film, Vern is said to have married right out of high school, and Teddy works odd jobs around town after being released from jail. Due to his alteration and neglect of these two essential elements that contribute to King’s social commentary, Ron Reiner achieves an intermediate adaptation of “The Body.”

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