Thursday, March 26, 2015

Books on screen

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

If you've read this book (and if you haven't you really ought to) you know that the first 3/4 of this book center around family humor. Its only in the final chapters, once they arrive in Alabama, that the serious political issues come into play. The movie version eliminates most of those early scenes and incorporates far more scenes of racial tension. It adds a scene where Byron and Kenny try to eat at a southern lunch counter and adds in cousins who talk about marching in a protest. While these things are important historically they entirely change the tone of the story. The original story shows us kids who have their eyes opened to injustice by as moment of intense violence. The movie makes it more of a process. More about a political situation and less about the individual. So, while both have merit, I personally prefer the novel. And if you enjoy audio books, this one is read by Levar Burton.

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