The Worldwide Debate
Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in Our Stars are books that turned into movies. Which version was better? This is the worldwide debate, the book versus the movie. In the case of “The Most Dangerous Game,” the movie had many differences from its short story counterpart. The most prevalent differences would be the addition of characters, the complete changes to the beginning and the end, and its lack of major details that were in the short story. However in the both the short story and in the movie, the main characters and the basic plot were kept the same.
The biggest difference was the addition of characters to the mansion of Zaroff. In the short story, the only characters mentioned in the mansion were Rainsford, Ivan, and Zaroff. One of the pieces of text that imply Rainsford was the only guest at Zaroff’s mansion would be on page 27 where it states, “They were eating borsh, the rich, red soup with whipped cream so dear to Russian palates. Half apologetically General Zaroff said, “We do our best to reserve the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. We are well off the beaten track, you know.” Although this quote implies that Zaroff has other guests, they are never seen or mentioned by name in the short story. However, in the movie adaptation, there were numerous other servants and the addition of minor characters, Eve Trowbridge and Martin Trowbridge.
One of the first differences that I spotted was the beginning. In the short story, the way Rainsford ended up on Ship-Trap Island began like this, “He lunged for it; a short, hoarse cry came from his lips as he realized he had reached too far and had lost his balance. The cry was pinched off short as the blood-warm waters of the Caribbean Sea closed over his head.” However, in the movie, the yacht that Rainsford was on crashed into the jagged rocks of the fake channel of the island and the entire crew died. This beginning was far more different than the one in the short story. In addition, the ending was different as well! In the short story, this was stated, “Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford…’ He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided. From this quote, it can be assumed that Rainsford killed Zaroff and slept in his bed, but in the movie, something else occurred. Rainsford battles Zaroff and his servants in the living room of Zaroff’s mansion and he steals the boat on the island and speeds off with Eve Trowbridge, as Zaroff dies and falls out of the window into the sleeping grounds of his blood hungry dogs.
The disappointing thing about the movie is that is lacked the most suspenseful details. One of the scenes it lacked was the dinner scene where Zaroff told Rainsford about the game he hunts on the island. For the reader, it makes it feel like they are Rainsford trying to decipher what it is that Zaroff is hunting. When I found out what the most dangerous game was it was a jaw-dropping moment. Another sweat-dripping moment would be not knowing what will happen to Rainsford because Zaroff said this, “Tomorrow you’ll feel like a new man, I’ll wager. Then we’ll hunt, eh?” Based on this quote, two things could happen either Zaroff and Rainsford will be hunting together or Rainsford will be hunted by Zaroff! The uncertainty of what Rainsford will face was not as dramatic in the movie. Another thing was that was left out of the movie was the name “Ship-Trap Island” the name was not referenced at all, although minor, I feel the name should have been mentioned.
Now moving on from the differences, the movie and the short story’s plot was the same and also the main characters, Rainsford and Zaroff. The plot still beings with Rainsford finding his way onto Ship-Trap Island for whatever circumstance and, then him finding Zaroff’s home. There he learns of the deeds that Zaroff has committed on the island, and finally, Rainsford being hunted and eventually defeating Zaroff. That much of the story transferred onto the movie’s adaptation of “The Most Dangerous Game,” and the plot influences the readers and the watchers to feel suspense and to feel afraid for Rainsford, because of the diction used in short story it’s difficult not to feel as though you’re in Rainsford’s shoes traversing through the jungle as a madman is chasing after you. The suspenseful plot is what makes both the movie and short story so spectacular.
“The Most Dangerous Game”, a short story that spans decades! Many books and movies take inspiration from this stunning short story. The short story was such a wonderful read that a movie was created. However, differences like the addition of characters, a change in beginning and end, and lack of details can be identified, which changed the flow of the story for the better. The addition of new characters added suspense and irony. The change, in the beginning, made the story more dramatic and the ending added a Western cliché of Rainsford riding off into the sunset. However, the lack of details made the movie less suspenseful, but movies must be a certain length, so the lack of details is understandable. All in all, the movie and short story were extremely similar and is my favorite short story due to its combine usage of suspense and diction, it kept my eyes glued to the words on the pages.