A classic novella written by John Steinbeck in 1937 highlighting the relationship between an unlikely pair, and their time spent as labourers working in California’s dusty vegetable fields. 55 years later in 1992 Steinbeck’s novella was created into a motion picture, produced and directed by Gary Sinise. Both the film and the book are equally as good as each other, in their own ways. This can be proven by the choice of actors, the impact of key scenes in both the film and the book, and the additions and subtractions in the film compared to the book.
The two main characters in the book and the film are; George Milton (played by Gary
Sinise) and Lennie Small (played by John Malkovich). Both actors play their roles fantastically. George (Sinise) is a quickwitted man with few but wellchosen words with no family or money to his name. His only burden is Lennie (Malkovich), a simpleton who has the mind of a child and the strength of an ox. George does the thinking and talking for both of them, where as Lennie does the handy work. All other characters are also portrayed well; Ray
Walston as Candy, Casey Siemaszko as Curley, Sherilyn Fenn as Curley’s wife, Joe Morton as Crooks, John Terry as Slim, and Richard Riehle as Carlson. Overall the adaption of the characters to actors was brilliantly done. This is what makes the key scenes so impactful.
There are two key scenes that stand out the most to viewers, one being when Lennie accidentally murders Curleys wife, and the other being the ending when George shoots
Lennie. Curley’s wife makes the mistake of allowing Lennie to play with her lavishing soft curls when they’re in the barn alone. This ultimately results in a struggle leading to Lennie snapping her neck. Throughout the book you’re able to see an increase of Lennie’s mental disability whereas in the movie it’s evident all the way thru with Malkovich’s odd looks, slightly crossed eyes, and slurred speech. At this moment in the book Steinbeck merely glances over the fact that Lennie murders Curley’s wife, and in the movie it’s almost as if the characters go into limbo for a small fraction of time before acknowledging it was Lennie. This makes the scene in the movie more impactful than the book.
Another key scene is the very end when George decides he is going to kill Lennie.
This occurs shortly after Lennie fled the ranch due to him murdering Curley’s wife. In both the book and the movie George does this out of kindness and sympathy. It was as if he knew
Lennie would “rest peacefully” if he shot him compared to if the other men found him first
(Lennie would’ve been lynched). George finds him in the river and sits him down on a nearby bank describing to Lennie how for the first time he’s not displeased with him, and George tells the same story yet again about them owning their own place, and tending rabbits. He does this to make Lennie happy before he dies. In the book you hear the horses galloping and the people getting closer to the location of George and Lennie; in the movie (Sinise) subtract this which I found to be a disappointment. I found it disappointing because in the book it builds up tension, and at the very end you