Fahrenheit 451 “Comparison” Essay
Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, differentiates from the cinematic form of the novel directed by François Truffaut in numerous ways. Bradbury states, “The movie was a mixed blessing. It didn’t follow the novel as completely as it should have.
“It’s a good movie: it has a wonderful ending; it has a great score by Bernard Hermann. Oskar Werner is wonderful in the lead. But Truffaut made the mistake of putting Julie Christie in two roles in the same film, which was very confusing, and he eliminated some of the other characters: Clarisse McClellan and Faber the Philosopher and the Mechanical Hound.
I mean, you can’t do without those! ” Other than the characters in the story, including the score and alternate ending of the film, the movie was superlative. The characters in the story have precise roles and by leaving them out/altering them from the movie hinders the characterization and the originality of Bradbury’s novel. The major alterations in Truffaut’s film deals with the characters and their significance to the novel and movie. A change in his film was getting rid of the Mechanical Hound. In the 1950’s, Bradbury wrote the book in a futuristic perspective.
Therefore, the Mechanical Hound could have been a little too high-tech for Truffaut’s 1960’s film and the reasoning for it being left out. However, Montag may have felt it necessary to have Mechanical Hound in the movie because it contributes to the futuristic look being portrayed in the novel. Another character that was totally left out of the film was Faber the philosopher. In the novel, Faber was basically a physical conscious of Montag’s. Some may see how Faber could have been left out of the film due to the little impact that he would have created in the movie.
Although, Bradbury would consider him essential for the cinematic version of Fahrenheit 451 because certain events in the novel, such as reciting the poems to Mildred’s/Linda’s friends, would’ve caused more trouble if Montag didn’t have Faber’s voice in his ear through the green bullet. Bradbury’s main concern about the movie involved Julie Christie playing the roles of Linda and Clarisse McClellan. In the movie, Truffaut casted Julie Christie as two completely different individuals, who in the book were different based on their age and personality.
Truffaut possibly casted her in these two polar opposite roles to portray Montag’s feelings towards both of them. When Montag met these ladies, he saw that they were both energetic and lively, although, Linda had lost this trait after their marriage while Clarisse had still possessed it. Bradbury would find it necessary to cast two different ladies as these characters because of how opposite they were in their age, personality and style according to the book. While being interviewed, Bradbury mentions, “Oskar Werner is wonderful in the lead.”
Werner did do Montag justice due to his impressive acting skills and his ability to play the role. Therefore, I can understand how Truffaut had casted these characters and the importance of the roles they play. Some of the positives things occurring in the movie were the effects of the film score and the alternate ending. Film score is original music written to specifically accompany a film. There is a distinct relationship between the mood and setting and the score of the movie.
In the movie, whether it was a dramatic event or an action, such as the scene where the Salamander is racing to its destination, there is a soundtrack of sound effects or music that enhances the dramatic event or action. In the film, the ending didn’t completely match up to the book as Bradbury thought it would have. In the book, Clarisse was not a part of the ending of the book at all, but was rather killed off in the beginning of the book. The alternate ending in the film showed Clarisse meeting up with the book people also and not being killed off at any time.
I find this alternate ending a pleasure rather than Bradbury’s ending because I don’t think Clarisse, the young, beautiful lady who questioned everything and actually took time to stop and look at her surroundings, should have just ended at the beginning. I liked the fact that Truffaut allowed her character to continue onto the ending of the movie. The alternate ending and the effects of the film score contained in Truffaut’s film added up with the initial plot of Bradbury’s novel conclude in a magnificent dramatic story that many would find interesting.
The cinematic version of Fahrenheit 451, directed by François Truffaut, and the written novel by Ray Bradbury are dissimilar in plenty of ways. Factors of the movie that Bradbury found enjoyable included the alternate ending, the great score, and Oskar Werner as Montag. Some aspects of the movie that he didn’t find pleasure in were putting Julie Christie in two roles in the same film and the elimination of Clarisse McClellan, Faber, and the Mechanical Hound. Although Bradbury found various flaws in the film, I can conclude that considering the time the film was created and the point of view of the director, the film was an enormous success.