Comparing Marlow of Heart of Darkness and Willard of Apocalypse Now

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Comparing Marlow of Heart of Darkness and Willard of Apocalypse Now Whenever books are adapted for film, changes inevitably have to be made. The medium of film offers several advantages and disadvantages over the book: it is not as adept at exploring the inner workings of people - it cannot explore their minds so easily; however, the added visual and audio capabilities of film open whole new areas of the imagination which, in the hands of a competent writer-director, can more than compensate. Heart of Darkness relies heavily on lengthy philosophical and expository passages, as well as some very unusual and complex imagery; “not the easiest material to rewrite as a screenplay” (Canby, 18). However, rewrite it Francis Ford Coppola did, altering the time and place of the novel from 19th century Congo to 20th century Vietnam. Coppola made an original film, with concepts and ideas taken from Heart of Darkness, rather than making a straight film version of the book. Consequently, there are many similarities and differences between the film and the book. The character of Marlow is renamed Willard in Apocalypse Now. This is noteworthy; the character of Kurtz has the same name in both the text and the film, so why not Marlow? “This is probably because the character of Kurtz in the film is almost identical to that in the book, whereas Willard is very different from Marlow” (Benner, 34). Kurtz is the person who has disconnected himself from society; he is not tied to any particular era, so his character works just as effectively in the 20th century as in the 19th. However, Marlow is the ordinary person in Heart of Darkness - the one ordinary man in the entire book, more-or-less; he is what ties the book into the society of ... ... middle of paper ... ...tif/Symbol/Metaphor (accessed 23 Jan. 2000). Benner, Ralph Heart of Darkness: A film review by Ralph Benner created 1996 (accessed 26 Jan. 2000). Canby, Vincent. "Apocalypse Now." The New York Times Film Reviews. New York: The New York Times & Arno Press, 1981. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer. New York: Penguin Books, 1978. Fortmeyer, Russell. 'Apocalypse' cast filled with rage created 1994 (accessed 23 Jan. 2000). Heart of Darkness: Theme/Symbol/Allusion/Foreshadow (accessed 23 Jan. 2000). Urch, Martin. Apocalypse Now: A film review by Martin Urch created 1994 (accessed 23 Jan. 2000).
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