Twice-Told Tales : comparisons to Hawthorne's stories

comparisons to Hawthorne's stories

Has anyone read Hawthorne's books and can comment on how the movie version is different / alike than the books??

Re: comparisons to Hawthorne's stories

Nathaniel Hawthorne is my favorite American writer - I've read The Scarlet Letter and House of the Seven Gables, been to Hawthorne's birthplace, been to the real House of the Seven Gables, the whole nine yards...

This adaptation isn't even from the same planet as the original story. What's strange is that I still love it. I love the book and I love the movie. The movie isn't the same story, but it still somehow seems to understand the book in a way I can't quite explain. They rewrote the plot and added plenty of 60s slush, but it's still true to the heart of the matter. They seem to respect Hawthorne and aren't trying to just cash in on him. (That's my big gripe with the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter - they just didn't get it. They didn't understand the book and didn't respect it.) Here they understood the work - they changed it, oh did they ever -- but they still respected it.

I don't care about money. I just want to be wonderful. - Marilyn Monroe

Re: comparisons to Hawthorne's stories

I love Hawthorne and have read the two short stories depicted here, though I am only currently reading "The House of the Seven Gables."

The segment closest to Hawthorne's original story is "Rappaccini's Daughter." The only differences are that the story version builds up the mystery of what is wrong with Beatrice a little more, all of the plants in the garden are poisonous to some degree, and Beatrice in the story never has to go out of her way to avoid the man's advances, since at the time Hawthorne wrote the story it was unseemly for a man to even hold a girl's hand until they were well into the courting.

"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is almost completely different. The original story is much too short for even a portion of a movie, and does not resemble a horror story whatsoever. In the story, Dr. Heidegger has already found the mystery liquid from a source thought to be the fountain of youth in Latin America. He never drinks the water himself, but invites three old friends to be the text subjects (two men and a women, nobody is actually brought back to life). When they are made young again, first they are happy, but then all of the conflict that comes with being young returns, including the two men fighting over who will get the young lady. At the end, everything turns old again in the order in which it received the water, so they first notice the rose wither. Nobody is murdered and they are just morose to return to their old bodies again.

Still, I love the movie, I think it is the best Hawthorne movie out there.