SH Question #5: Story vs. Film

by Washington Irving

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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SH Question #5: Story vs. Film

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:33 am

Besides the character of Ichabod, what differences do you see between Irving’s story and Sleepy Hollow the movie?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:36 am

Biggest difference, in a word--JOHNNY DEPP!! Oops! That's two words and probably won't earn me an A...
The two are so different that it's hard to know where to begin. The story is like a meticulously told simple fairy tale whereas the movie is a rather intricate horror/comedy mystery story with some romance thrown in. In the movie the characters of the Hessian, Ichabod and Katrina are much more developed, giving some interesting background to the story and causing us to really care about the characters.
Both writer and movie director were experts at setting a mood. It took a lot of flowery words for Irving to do it and a lot of expensive sets for Burton to do it, but both were geniuses at it. We had to use our imaginations more in reading the story, of course, while the movie just hit us with one grisly scene after another. (Not sure anything really grisly actually happened in the story...) The movie also hit us with those expressions on Johnny's face :rotflmao: No way Irving could have portrayed those!
Both had good endings, I thought. Irving's was somewhat left up in the air, keeping with the strangeness of the story. And Burton's tied everything up happily, which was satisfying because we had come to wish the best for the characters.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:59 am

Betty Sue wrote:Biggest difference, in a word--JOHNNY DEPP!! Oops! That's two words and probably won't earn me an A...
The two are so different that it's hard to know where to begin. The story is like a meticulously told simple fairy tale whereas the movie is a rather intricate horror/comedy mystery story with some romance thrown in. In the movie the characters of the Hessian, Ichabod and Katrina are much more developed, giving some interesting background to the story and causing us to really care about the characters.
Both writer and movie director were experts at setting a mood. It took a lot of flowery words for Irving to do it and a lot of expensive sets for Burton to do it, but both were geniuses at it. We had to use our imaginations more in reading the story, of course, while the movie just hit us with one grisly scene after another. (Not sure anything really grisly actually happened in the story...) The movie also hit us with those expressions on Johnny's face :rotflmao: No way Irving could have portrayed those!
Both had good endings, I thought. Irving's was somewhat left up in the air, keeping with the strangeness of the story. And Burton's tied everything up happily, which was satisfying because we had come to wish the best for the characters.
And now I'll turn in my blue book....


Automatic "A" for using Johnny Depp in a sentence, Betty Sue! :cool:

One thing I noticed is the two towns of Sleepy Hollow were quite different. Irving paints a picture of an idyllic setting and Tim's Sleepy Hollow was quite barren and almost black and white. I have some other ideas too, but I want to hear what the Noodlemantras have to say on this subject.

(By the way, we will be talking about the ending in a separate question if you don't mind holding off... :thanks!: )
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:06 pm

I think it funny that Johnny said the following about SH, “My feeling is that Washington Irving, who wrote this story in the early 18th Century, wrote it for Tim to direct. I really do. When I got the call about this thing and that Tim was going to be doing it, it was just so perfect.” I thought of them as totally different stories. From the two Ichabods to the Hessian. The intrigue was not there. Except for Irving’s flowery writing, there wasn’t much to the story. It was a rather simple plot whereas Tim's was more complex. There were no conspiracies in the book. Irving’s Ichabod was a schoolmaster whose goal was to marry Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod Johnny was sent there to investigate murders. His meeting of Katrina was by chance, not by purpose.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:18 pm

I got an A!! :bounce: Thanks, Teach!!
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Unread postby Bix » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:13 pm

The biggest difference to me is that in Tim's story, the Headless Horseman and the witchcraft are real! Hmmm, I just started to go on about this, but is this leading into the ending discussion? :-?

Perhaps I'll just say that I agree with you all that Tim's version has a huge plot line that is absent from the short story - Ichabod (a policeman) being banished to the country to investigate the murders, the continuation of the murders, meeting Katrina, the orphaned boy, the stepmother, the return to NYC, etc. They are two different stories for the most part, as someone said.

This will show my ignorance about movie-making, but I assume that Tim Burton had a great deal to do with creating the plot line in his movie. But did he write the screenplay or did he work with someone else to come up with it? As I said, I know nothing about how all that works and was just interested if someone else knows. I guess what I am really asking is if Tim Burton is the one responsible for coming up with all the fantastic extra plot stuff.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Oct 21, 2005 6:55 pm

Bix wrote: This will show my ignorance about movie-making, but I assume that Tim Burton had a great deal to do with creating the plot line in his movie. But did he write the screenplay or did he work with someone else to come up with it? As I said, I know nothing about how all that works and was just interested if someone else knows. I guess what I am really asking is if Tim Burton is the one responsible for coming up with all the fantastic extra plot stuff.


Bix, I don't know for sure but I would think this was Tim's vision. The following people are given writing credits on IMDB:

Writing credits (WGA)
Washington Irving (story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Kevin Yagher (screen story) &
Andrew Kevin Walker (screen story)

Andrew Kevin Walker (screenplay)



Well done, Betty Sue! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Johnny Fan » Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:20 pm

It was interesting to spot the differences between the story and the film. I had assumed that characters like the four Town elders, young Masbath, and Katrina's stepmother were in the original story, and I was suprised to learn that they were created specifically for the movie. I like that flashbacks of Ichabod's childhood were included in the film because not too much is really known about Ichabod's past in Irving's story.

As for the Headless Horseman, there isn't too much background given on him either in the story, while in the movie we get to hear Baltus Van Tassel tell the history behind him. And the Headless Horseman only made one appearance in the story, at the end, while he makes several appearances in the film version.

The relationship between Ichabod and Katrina is much different n the film than in the story too. In the film, Katrina feels the same attraction for Ichabod that he does for her.

My favorite difference between the movie and story is obviously the portrayal of Ichabod Crane, which we discussed yesterday. Johnny was just so funny in the film as Ichabod, while in the book, there is nothing humorous about Ichabod at all.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Oct 22, 2005 9:53 am

JohnnyFanatic, there was much more to the movier version of the story which made it more enjoyable. When I went back and watched recently I had forgotten that they even kept Brom in the story at all!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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