Lumen’s Reinterpretation of Rudolph This paper analyzes how Sidney Lumen reinterprets the character of Rudolph in the film adaptation of A View from the Bridge. She focuses on the boxing scene between Eddie and Rudolph and the scene where Catherine confronts Rudolph about the possibility of living in Italy. In the film adaptation, Lumen reinterprets Rudolph as a more mature, experienced, and powerful character than Rudolph as portrayed by Miller in the play script. One of the factors that contribute to the film’s reinterpretation of Rudolph is assisting.
In casting Jean Sorrel, a tall and rather masculine man, and costuming him in collared button-up shirts, Lumen presents Rudolph as a powerful character who takes pride in dressing neatly. Stemming from this idea, Rudolph strong stature and proper work attire causes the audience to associate him with a sense of maturity and authority. Had a man of small or lanky stature been castes as Rudolph, and had his everyday attire been t-shirt casual, it is less likely that the audience will regard him with the same level of respect. The lines that Lumen eliminated from the script contribute to her reinterpretation f Rudolph.
As I watched the film, I noticed that Rudolph did not mention some of the lines that he had in the script, some of which were about his dreams of buying a motorcycle. In the script, Rudolph says, “With a motorcycle in Italy you will never starve anymore… A man who rides up on a great machine, this man is responsible, this man exists” (22). The fact that Rudolph thinks owning a motorcycle makes a man so powerful, and that he said it was the first thing he wants to purchase when he gets rich, portrays him as a youthful, carefree bachelor who takes pride in appearing as the ultimate “macho” man.
In the script, Miller uses this particular line to contrast between Eddies idea of a man and that of Rudolph. In talking about Rudolph, Eddie says, “What does he do with his first money? A snappy new Jacket he buys, records, a pointy pair new shoes… Them guys don’t think of nobody but thrillers! ” (30). Rudolph views his newly purchased items as symbols of masculinity, whereas Eddie views Rudolph purchases as selfish, useless, and ultimately childish. By eradicating this particular line from the film, Lumen gives the audience less reason to think of Rudolph as the naive character portrayed in Miller’s script.
A major scene that illustrates the difference between Miller and Lumen’s interpretation of Rudolph is Rudolph boxing scene with Eddie. In both the script and film, Rudolph seems to be enjoying himself when Eddie teaches him some boxing techniques at the beginning of the scene; he is smiling and giving Eddie small, friendly Jabs. However, in the film, things take a turn after Eddie knocks Rudolph to the ground. As Rudolph gets back up on his teeth, en gives Eddie a brier but noticeable hard, cold look of anger, and then slowly breaks into a grim smile as he tells Eddie that “he didn’t hurt (him)” (43) in a quiet and low-toned voice.
Rudolph irritation and anger becomes more apparent when Eddie turns his back towards Rudolph and starts walking towards his seat with Beatrice, and Rudolph glares fixedly at Eddie in the background. Not only does Rudolph still wear the same cold, Jaw-clenched facial expression as he walks over to turn on the phonograph, but his slow-paced walk towards it also highlights his anger and the dramatic tension of the scene. Rudolph apparent anger explains that he is aware of the subtext of Eddies boxing lesson.
Rudolph is mature enough to assess the situation and understands Eddies message of threat. The boxing scene in the script portrays a friendlier and less intense scene than that in the film. As Rudolph rises up on his feet after being hit by Eddie, the stage directions say that he “had a certain gleam and smile” (43). When readers read this, they sense that Rudolph is not angry at Eddie for causing his fall; rather, he may even find it humorous for allowing an old man to get the best of him.
He seems to be oblivious to the fact that Eddie is using this opportunity as a way to physically express his disapproval towards Rudolph, and so Rudolph treats this mini boxing attach merely as a friendly “father-son” boxing lesson. The second scene that depicts Lumen’s reinterpretation of Rudolph is the scene during which Catherine discusses with Rudolph the possibility of marrying him and moving to Italy. During this scene in the film, the audience senses Rudolph desire to get intimate with Catherine, which enforces the idea of him as a man who is confident and experienced in relationships.
When Catherine asks Rudolph if he is hungry and he replies, “Not for anything to eat” (45), there are no stage directions in the script that indicate any sense of intimacy occurring in the scene. However, during this scene in the film, the audience watches as Rudolph picks Catherine up by her hips, brings his face closer to hers, looks deeply into her eyes, and replies her with a seductive edge to his voice. Rudolph gesture towards Catherine adds a romantic feel to the scene, and so it makes the audience realize that the thing he “hungers” for is some intimacy with her.
Towards the end of this scene, Catherine expresses frustration about her dilemma of rebelling against Eddie and moving out with Rudolph or obeying Eddies wishes and staying with him. In the film, as soon as Catherine begins crying, Rudolph comes ever to her and embraces her against the wall. He then dabs her tears with a tissue and looks at her intently. Rudolph actions illustrate his desire to protect and comfort Catherine, Just like how a father protects his “little girl,” a nickname he sometimes uses to refer to Catherine.
Moreover, the contrast in size between Rudolph and Catherine is highlighted when he hovers over her as he comforts her. Standing over a petite Catherine creates the illusion of Rudolph being even larger than he actually is, which emphasizes his power. The sense of responsibility Rudolph has over Catherine resembles the responsibility a husband would have ever his wife, which illustrates him as the head and protector of his family. Also during this scene in the film, the way that Catherine speaks towards Rudolph depicts him as a man of authority.
When Catherine tells Rudolph to hold and teach near (48), seen says it in such a way that it illustrates near as interior and powerless against him. As Rudolph starts kissing her, it is apparent that he is taking the lead and she is surrendering to his authority. Lumen portrays Catherine as a helpless little girl in need of Rudolph guidance, and this elevates the power of his character. A characteristic that is sometimes associated with maturity is the willingness to listen to the opinion of others despite disagreeing with them.
We see this characteristic evident in Leafier who patiently listens to Eddie as he tries to prove, to no avail, that Rudolph is committing an illegal act by marrying Catherine simply to secure residency in the United States. Marco also exhibited this characteristic in dealing with Eddie; he remains respectful towards Eddie despite Eddie constantly testing his patience with all his house rules and restrictions (especially towards Rudolph). Much like how Leafier and Marco exhibited patience in their respective situations, we see that Rudolph shows his maturity in the film by also acting with patience as he talks with Catherine.
In this play, the audience is well aware of how determined Rudolph is about staying in America, therefore we expect him to have an uncompromising reaction towards Catering’s idea of moving to Italy together, where he will immediately reject the idea. During this scene in the script, Rudolph responses to Catherine are brief and consist of question marks and exclamation points. His reaction depicts the image f a child who endlessly questions and opposes the other person’s idea. Rudolph seems to be slightly angry, frustrated, and not at all open to her idea.
In Lumen’s film adaptation, however, Rudolph reaction to Catering’s idea seems to be more composed; his facial expression remains soft and his tone is insisting but under control. At certain moments, he is even smiling. Rudolph tone becomes harsh only upon realizing that Catering’s idea is a result of Eddies skepticism towards his feelings for her. The fact that he was willing to patiently listen to Catherine before thoughtfully reasoning with her reinforces the image of him as a inconsiderate and open-minded man.