Film adaptations : the dynamics of intertextual analysis

Zee, Nathan Chin Hung
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
This dissertation begins with a brief history of adaptation studies followed by a discussion on the issue of fidelity. After examining several of the major arguments surrounding the fidelity debate, I establish a means for discussing adaptations through Robert Stam's concept of "intertextual dialogism," which takes its theoretical framework from Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of "dialogism" and Julia Kristeva's "intertextuality." Stam's use of "intertextual dialogism" or "intertextuality" argues for the "open-endedness" of texts, allowing us to move away from evaluating texts simply on their faithfulness to the source. I begin Chapter 1 with a close reading of Pride and Prejudice as I compare it with three adaptations: the 1940 film production, the 1995 television mini-series, and the 2005 film production--using the intertextual tropes of studio style, casting and choice of stars for each film, their mainstream ideology, and narrative point of view. In Chapter 2, I examine Huck Finn's first-person narration in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn using Bakhtinian concepts that lead into an intertextual reading with director Stephen Sommers' film adaptation. Chapter 3 examines the introspective and sentimental narration of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby and its relationship to director Jack Clayton's film adaptation. The final chapter looks at A Streetcar Named Desire by first comparing the playscript with the 1993 rerelease of the film. Then I take a look at the 1951 version and compare it with the 1993 version before ending with a reading of the 1995 television adaptation in the context of the playscript. Too often, high school teachers show film adaptations to give a visual idea of the setting or to look at basic differences between the novel and film adaptation without asking "why?" This dissertation provides examples of close readings and comparisons with their film adaptations, eventually arguing for a close reading of the source text in the high school curricula, not for evaluating the worth of a film, but as a way to define the sorts of relationships between a literary text and its film adaptation.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
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