Ironwood Movie vs. Book

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ljmoreno
Words 638
Pages 3
Ironweed comparison

Ironweed is the remarkable story of Francis Phelan, once a talented baseball player, husband and father of three, who has fallen so far from grace that his home for the past twenty-two years has been the street. He sees and converses with men he has killed, and men he’s helped or befriended along the way. The story’s events take place over a period of three days, in which Francis gradually comes to terms with the past he fled so long ago. The Ironweed story has been adapted to novel and movie formats, which will be compared below. I much preferred the movie version to the novel. For me, author William Kennedy’s style of writing is needlessly vague and difficult to follow, yet he did a wonderful job adapting the screenplay for the movie. Several aspects of the story I did not fully understand until I watched the movie. Kennedy also lifted Helen Archer, Francis’ girlfriend, into a main character role for the movie. I was very glad to see her presence expanded in to movie as her role in the novel is rather small for such a fascinating character. In the second chapter of the novel, Francis, Helen and friend Rudy Newton go to The Gilded Cage saloon for drinks, where it is revealed that Helen is a former songstress. Barman Oscar Reo, a former singer and radio star himself, convinces Helen to sing for the crowd. Helen hesitates at first, but finally relents and performs what seems to be a wonderful rendition of ‘My Man’, followed by ‘He’s Me Pal’. According to the novel, Helen’s rendition of these songs earns her thunderous applause, and the crowd gives her a standing ovation. Reading that part of the book, I believe Helen gives a fantastic performance. Its was not until I see that same performance in the movie that I realize Helen has imagined that response, and the crowds true reaction can be called lackluster at best. Also in…...

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