The Green Mile

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When Stephen King published “The Green Mile,” it was quite a novelty as he chose to release it in six serialized segments, each releasing a month apart. It was inevitable that it would get adapted as a film, as so many other of King’s works, but perhaps because of its popularity, its subject matter, and because of Frank Darabont’s connection to King after making The Shawshank Redemption, it came as no surprise that Darabont was adapting and directing it as his next film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we talk about the next film in our Stephen King à la Darabont series, his 1999 film adaptation The Green Mile.

We talk about the episodic nature the film has, perhaps because of its original serialized format, and how that affects our viewing of it. We look at the flashback structure with Old Paul in the nursing home at the start and finish and debate if it helps or hurts the film. We also talk about the mean orderly in the nursing home in the novel and why perhaps the film would’ve worked better if that character was kept. We discuss the magical negro nature of the film and why it can be harmful to the interpretations of the film today. We look at all of the performances but notably Michael Clarke Duncan and how well he works as John Coffey. We touch on the cinematography, production design, music, and editing and why they all work well in this long story. And we ponder what it’s saying about death sentences, if anything.

It’s a good film, despite the problems it has with the magical negro element, but doesn’t approach the level of Shawshank for us. Still, it’s worth watching, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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