Tuesday 13 August 2019

Book ~ "The Shawshank Redemption Revealed: How One Story Keeps Hope Alive" (2019) Mark Dawidziak

From Goodreads ~ A 25th anniversary history and celebration of "The Shawshank Redemption", one of the most cherished American films of the late twentieth century and one of the finest movies made from a Stephen King story. 

The movie not only boasts a great story, it has a great backstory, starting with the dollar deal that eventually led King and co-stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman to put their trust in a largely untested director making his first feature film. 

Although the film received mostly positive reviews on its release in September 1994, the box office was disappointing and it failed to win many awards. But as Andy tells Red in the film, "no good thing ever dies." The movie found new life, reaching an ever-growing audience on cable and home video (through word of mouth, it became one of the top-rented movies of 1995). 

Each year, "The Shawshank Redemption" rises in polls asking film fans to name their favorite movies. It has become nothing less than this generation's The Grapes of Wrath, an inspiring story about keeping hope alive in bleak times and under the most horrendous conditions. 

The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite movies.  Amazingly when it came out 25 years ago, it didn't do so well.  Over the years, because it's been on TV so much and word of mouth encouraged rentals, it has grown in popularity.  In fact, it is now the highest rated movie of all time on IMDB!

In honour of its 25th anniversary (it came out in 1994), this book details anything and everything you've ever wanted to know about the movie.  The book is divided into four sections:
  1. The differences between Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and the movie and King talking about Shawshank
  2. The production and making of the movie
  3. Post production, release and reviews
  4. Interpretation, afterlife and legacy

There are interviews with major stars like Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.  But there are also interviews with actors who had minor roles (such as the actor who played the golf pro who was having an affair with Andy's wife, the actress who played Andy's cheating wife, the actress who played the teller at the bank at the end who had just fourteen words to say and many more) and with local residents of Mansfield, Ohio, where the movie was filmed, many of whom had parts as extras along with other actors.  It was interesting to get the scoop on how it affect their lives and the town during and after.

Any time it comes on TV, I get "Shawshanked" ... yes, that is apparently a verb meaning sucked into watching it yet again regardless of where it is in the movie.  Do you?  It's been a while since I've seen it so I'm going to have to watch it soon since I now have all this insight.

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