Comparing the film of The Scarlet Tunic and The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion by Thomas Hardy Essay

One of the main changes in the short story is that Phyllis, her name in the short story, is called Frances in the film. As she is the main character you wouldn’t have thought that they would have changed anything about her, at first it was quite confusing as they were talking about some one called Frances and no one knew who she was, but then it became clear. The film version is different from the short story. In the short story you imagine Phyllis to be extremely shy and very self-conscious, but in the film, Frances seems like a very strong, confident person. In the short story you imagine her and her father, Dr.

Grove, to live on a hill and be isolated from the rest of the village, with lots of land surrounding them with a big white wall around the edge of their home. But in the film they don’t live on a hill. They are isolated but that’s because of the amount of land they have and they don’t have a white wall round the edge they just have lots of hedges and bushes. It makes them seem quite wealthy. In the short story we don’t learn what happened to Phyllis’s mother, and all we know about her is that she lives with her father, in the film when her father’s talking to Mr. Gould, Phyllis’s fianci??, it states that her mother died in the Revolution, and she lives with her father, Emily, the housekeeper and her daughter Dotty. We don’t learn much about the characters in either the short story or film, but in the short story it leaves it more to your imagination and you can guess what the characters are like. In the film it does give a clearer idea of the characters as you can see what people are like by the way they act dress and the way they speak.

Again Phyllis seems like a quiet, timid character but in the film she’s a lot stronger and bubblier. Also her father, Dr. Grove, in the short story he seems like a strict, evil person especially towards Phyllis, as when he finds out about Phyllis meeting up with Matthaus he says “You want an excuse for encouraging one or other of those foreign fellows to flatter you with his unmeaning attentions. I see more than I say. Don’t ever set foot outside that garden-fence without my permission.

If you want to see that camp I’ll take you myself some Sunday afternoon. In that quote it shows that her father is quite over-powering towards Phyllis. But in the film he is almost completely different; he cares about Frances a lot, wants the best for her but at the same time doesn’t want her to get hurt, so he’s quite strict. The costumes in the short story aren’t described at all so they are left to your imagination and what you know about that time era, so I imagined them to be quite big, flamboyant and very feminine for the females and for the males, suits with braces and ties and just looking extremely posh and well dressed.

In the film the male’s costumes were quite similar to what I had imagined, however the female’s clothes seemed particularly fitted and not as flamboyant as I had expected. The outfits showed us that they were wealthy and had a bit of money that they could spend on nice clothing, and could actually take pride in their appearance, but at the same time they aren’t as extravagant so you still know that they are from the country. I think it is different from the way we read the story, as we imagine them to be very class-conscious and rely on their clothing, so people can see what class they are in and how they act and treat people.

The major characters from the short story, excluding Phyllis, are Matthaus, Dr. Grove and Mr. Gould. Matthaus we learn is a German soldier that falls in love with Phyllis; he’s really not happy in England and wants to go back home, and the only reason for staying is Phyllis. Eventually he tries to leave England along with Christoph but gets caught for desertion and executed. Dr. Grove is Phyllis’s father and is a very powerful man and Phyllis has to abide by his rules, he approves of Mr. Gould and objects, when he realises something is going on with Phyllis and one of the German’s.

Mr. Gould is a middle class man, who proposes to Phyllis, assured of his father’s approval. He is always “away” on business and returns only to tell Phyllis that he has married another women and wants her to tell his father that she left him. The film’s major characters, excluding Frances, again are Matthaus, Dr. Grove and Mr. Gould. Matthaus is much the same character however more developed and characterised. We discover that he loves poetry, he’s a sergeant, appears a peacemaker with all the soldiers. He tells his friends to avoid the village girls to keep them out of trouble.

He’s also very soft and sentimental. Dr. Grove appears the completely opposite, he is caring about his daughter, wants the best for her. He’s only slightly strict because he doesn’t want Frances to get hurt; he seems more of a father rather than a prison guard! We learn that he is in love and is having a fling with his housekeeper. Finally Mr. Gould is again a similar character, he’s more cunning, a sly fox rather than a gentleman. Frances doesn’t go with Matthaus, her true love, as she thought Mr. Gould was coming back, but instead it’s to say it’s over and he has since married.

Although the major characters are all similar in some respect but the film has altered their personalities and characteristics. The minor characters in the short story are Christophe, and the Commanding Officer. Christophe is Matthaus’ fellow soldier and tries to escape to return home, but unfortunately gets executed for desertion. The Commanding Officer ultimately organises the execution of Matthaus and Christophe. In the film Christophe and the Commanding Officer are portrayed the same but appear more.

There are a lot more minor characters in the film; these are Amy Parson, Dotty, Emily, and soldiers, Mr. Parson, Christophe and the Commanding Officer. Amy Parson is the daughter of Mr. Parson, who is a friend of the Grove’s, and falls in love with one of the soldiers. Dotty, the Grove’s maid, daughter of Emily, is close to Frances. Emily, the Grove’s housekeeper, is in love with Dr. Grove. She’s extremely close to Frances providing a mother figure. Mr. Parsons, a friend of Dr. Grove, tells him that he believes Mr. Gould is having an affair with another women. The advantages of having all the extra minor characters in the film, brings the film more to life and tells more of a story.

They build the story and help the viewers become more involved, and you understand more about the major characters. As the minor characters are introduced throughout the film and short story, they show how much of a bigger part they play and enthrals you ensuring you concentrate more. The music in the film is more effective as it helps you understand either what is going on or the importance of the shot. For example at the start for the arrival of the soldiers royal music was played namely using trumpets. During a sad bit in the film there’s a soft gentle calm music. During the romantic parts the music was more up beat and romantic.

The camera shots are mostly close ups especially when Mr Gould returns and is speaking with Frances. They remain focused on the faces until it is suitable to change. The camera is used well as you can see the expressions of the characters and you become more involved in the story. Some scenes are busy and contain a lot. At the beginning long shots were used so you could see how much greenery and fields there are in Dorset and around the Grove’s home. The themes are really similar in both short story and film, and I think after I watched the film it become clearer than the short story.

The major part the film changed was the ending. Matthaus and Christoph are executed, Frances is there, sees Mr. Guold, picks up a gun and threatens to shoot him, and the Commanding Officer also picks up the gun. She shoots Mr. Gould and is shot herself, so it isn’t exactly a happy ending but it shows how people react when they are in love. Overall I think they both have the same backbone but in their own ways they are slightly different. In no ways is one better than the other, however to read the short story and to see the film makes it a complete puzzle as everything fits together!

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