Essay 1 Details

Hi Class,


Here is a handout on thesis statements for film essays:

Thesis Statement-film

Here are basic details for Essay 1:

Essay 1 (750 words): Write a comparison of Washington Irving’s story and the two adaptations that we have seen by Shelley Duval and Tim Burton. Central questions that you need to answer: why were changes made between the textual and film versions? Do the films capture the style and themes of the story? Are they radical or literal translations?

Length: approximately three pages, 12 point font, normal MLA margins.


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2 Responses to Essay 1 Details

  1. Li says:

    I’m currently enrolled as an Advertising and Graphic Design student at City Tech. I graduated from a film program from another CUNY collage not too long ago.

    The question of why changes were made between textual and film versions seems
    to be a question that many people have problem with. Yes, why does film adaptions don’t follow religiously the textual version?
    Personally, I think it’s impossible not to make any changes between film and literature. First, film and literature are two different mediums. Film is a ‘hot’ medium and literature is a ‘cold’ medium, based on the media high priest, Marshall McLuhan’s theory. Two, literature is much longer in length while film is a compressed version of whatever literature/text it tries to adapt. Because of its limitation, film can only dramatize one or two important events, or better still, the filmmaker comes up with his/her own version of what should be dramatized. It may be a total departure from the literature itself. However, if the filmmaker thinks his/her version will make the point more poignant, then he/she has the license to do so. After all, film is a totally different media from literature.

    My answer may not be the answer that the author is seeking. First, I haven’t read Washing Irving’s story and two, I haven’t seen any of these films. However, I often encounter people asking the same question.

    • Hi Li,

      Thanks for your comments. I think that your comments might have been stronger had you read the story and viewed the films. Second, McLuhan was a media pioneer, but he is not the latest or greatest film scholar. When approaching the idea of translation, the concept of hot and cool might have less use than the ideas of radical or literal translation. Film and literature are both narrative media; they share this essential characteristic, so the idea that they are “totally different media” is inaccurate.
      Prof. Scanlan

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