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Of Mice and Men’, the novel by Steinbeck, frequently dramatises the constant action of back-to-back scenes. Consequently, the novel shares a strong sense of time, which is a formal element of most movies. Steinbeck’s novel is not targeted at a selective audience in view of its vernacular dialogue and informal touch. Also considering the fast-paced action, ‘Of Mice and Men’ is very adaptable to a movie version. Using various devices up his sleeve, it is very important that the filmmaker gets across a sense of setting and colour in connection with characters’ thoughts and feelings.
In preparing the final scene of the movie version of ‘Of Mice and Men’ we were trying to focus on Lennie’s vulnerability in the outside world, the decline of George’s self-esteem with the demise of Lennie and how the setting and the environment (especially Lennie’s desired rabbits) reacted to the catastrophic conclusion. Our precise aims regarding filming technique were to use a combination of low and high-angle shots, camera FX to reflect the plot e. g. , dew, steam, fast/moderate paced camera, and deliberate exclusion of the camera from any part of the shot. For soundtracks/FX, we especially tried to imitate characters’ moods and feelings.
Finally, suitable dialogue in calculated manner and appropriate timing re-enforced our essence of Lennie’s demise and George’s position. The establishing shots arouse an audience’s preliminary attention and directly convey a filmmaker’s purposes. This is because setting, colour, smell, movement and a character’s intentions are all elements of this shot. In our film, George carries a great appeal to any audience and connects them with Lennie’s reality. In the first subjective shot, George scrambles onto his horse’s saddle and shoots past the ranch at top speed while camera does not linger on setting.
I thought that because the camera does not linger on setting, an audience unaware of Steinbeck’s final plot might get mystified or puzzled as to why George acts so instinctively. We decided on this camera movement keeping in mind that George is very determined and sincere with his friend and he will do the best up to his ability to protect Lennie. The audience can now sense something will go wrong and George will try to help Lennie to get out of the mess. This shot will prompt most audiences to form their own speculations of what is to happen next.