I’d venture to guess there aren’t too many titles out there that have a fan base equally passionate about the book and the movie. I caveat that statement with “aren’t too many” because there is at least one I can think of that is both a brilliant story and a brilliant film: Stand By Me, based on Stephen King’s novella The Body.
I saw Stand By Me when it came out in 1986 and at the time, I wasn’t into (or even much aware of) Stephen King, so I had no idea that the movie was based on his short story. Yes, yes, it was right there in the credits, but I was young and oblivious, ‘kay? It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I discovered The Body and was blown away by this story all over again. Although the movie does take some liberties with the plot – including having a much less tragic end for two of the four friends – overall it’s a faithful adaptation of the reflections of Gordie Lachance and his buddies, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio.
I can still hear the voice of Richard Dreyfuss as the middle-aged Gordie as he recounted the events of that summer, and I still feel squeamish thinking about that leech-down-the-underwear scene, and I can still remember the shock at the friends’ discovery of Ray Brower’s dead body next to the train tracks. Just as the boys had to, I was forced to face the utter finality of it. A boy was dead. It wasn’t a lark, or some grand adventure where the friends get to go home heroes after finding the body. It was tragic and sad and a part of life and death.
That moment, and so many others throughout the emotionally charged story, stayed with me long after I saw the movie, and again long after I read the novella.
Do you have any books or movies that continue to resonate with you years later?