Differences In Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Quiet American

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In America in the 1950’s there was a massive fear of communism. During this time in Vietnam, the Communist North and the Colonialistic French controlled South, waged war against each other. This is brought together in peace by Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1958 film adaptation of The Quiet American. He does so by highlighting key differences in the novel to give a completely different perspective. The novel, written by Graham Greene shows the two central characters; Fowler, a British journalist and Pyle, a young idealistic American in Vietnam. Granted there are very few differences between film and novel that affect the character’s development in the story, these differences change the way the characters are looked at and how their personalities come…show more content…
Mankiewicz most successfully illustrates the adaptations between the characters in the novel and film. In the scene, it starts off with a shot of Fowler dining by himself, where it is quiet. Then out of nowhere there is an explosion in the square startling Fowler, as he quickly realizes where Phuong might be he rushes out of the restaurant. The next shot shows all the destruction from the bomb as Fowler goes outside. As we watch Fowler try and fight through the crowd unsuccessfully we see how unhelpful he is to Phuong. From there we see Pyle burst into the scene like a knight in shining armor riding on an ambulance, making Fowler look even more miniscule and useless. Following Pyle’s entrance to the scene, Fowler joins the all too heroic ‘American’ on the ambulance where he immediately starts accusing him of his involvement to the bombing. Fowler being too caught up in the lies Mr. Heng told him, he doesn’t realize or seem to care about the severity of the situation. Pyle is actually forced to yell at Fowler, “shut up and help someone”. Which shows how obsessed he is with showing everyone how the ‘American’ is bad. He wants to put a damper on the way the ‘American’ is looked at, not as the hero, but as the villain. This in the end keeps true to the original thought of Pyle being the heroic humanitarian he was perceived to
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