ATD Question #26 - ATD, the Movie

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ATD Question #26 - ATD, the Movie

Unread postby Liz » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:29 am

Compare the book with the movie.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gemini » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:09 pm

I think I jumped the gun and said earlier that I like the film better than the book.
In the film Arturo and Camillia's love affair was more realistic. In the book it is mostly Arturo's feelings and Camilla seems in love with Sammy and just using Arturo. The film to me seemed as though Sammy was a good friend and may even have been a past boyfriend, but Camilla was reciprocal in her relationship with Arturo.
I think Colin Farrel made me like Arturo better than I liked him in the book because I didn't know what he was thinking and he seemed more like a young fellow falling in love. I even enjoyed watching Donald Southerland in the movie, instead of a symbolic devil he was more of an alcoholic old man that gave Arturo the foresight to make good or he could see the result of the alternative.
I liked the ending of the film better than the book because we see Camilla die of TB and Arturo takes the pup and much later comes back to dedicate his book to her by way of the dust.
The book leaves it open as to what was wrong with Camilla, was she crazy or just loves sick over being rejected by Sammy? And why take the pup if she loved it so much, unless she was psychotic.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:27 pm

I liked the movie better because it seemed kinder and gentler. The characters were more sympathetic, easier to understand. For instance, Hellfrick did not murder any animals in the movie! :baby: The squabbling between Arturo and Camilla didn't seem quite as weird. Maybe seeing their faces helped in understanding that they were both just so insecure and vulnerable.
In the movie Camilla wasn't as involved with Sammy and truly cared for Arturo, which gave the story greater meaning for me. By the end of the movie I felt like each of them had been good for the other, that they had helped each other find some peace and understanding. :cool:
Just read your answer, gemini, and I agree.
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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:59 pm

It's been awhile since I watched the movie ~ I rented it whilst we were discussing Bandini (I went ahead and read ADT at that time) ~ but I remember liking the ending in the book much better than the movie. For some reason having Camilla sicken and die just seemed too pat and predictable to me. Too tidy and neat. I really liked the ending of the book! The gesture of Arturo throwing his book into the desert outside Sammy's place struck me as being very rich and meaningful, and seemed to sum up the whole episode in such a great, metaphorical way. IMO there really was no love relationship between Camilla and Arturo. The love relationship was between Arturo and his book. For him to offer the finished product, symbolizing all his passion and pride, to the dust seemed to be a recognition on his part of the people who had informed his story and who were the ones who actually made it come to life. Now they were gone, unattainable and disappeared, resided only out there in the atmosphere. At the same time, the gesture was one of futility. It was as though Arturo realized that, while the physical book was a manifestation of his 'success', it was really meaningless in the long run; it would ultimately turn to dust. As would pride and passion. Ergo, throwing the book into the desert represented, IMO, a precious offering and a letting-go.
I'm not sure if that makes sense... :eyebrow:
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:24 pm

Interesting, Parlez! Not only did you make sense, you helped me make sense of the book! :idea: Thank you! (I tend to need things to be "pat and predictable." :blush: )
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Unread postby gemini » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:40 pm

Actually Parlez, it makes a lot of sense and from Arturo's point of view, very true.
The love relationship was between Arturo and his book.
I was looking at it through Camilla's eyes, and wondering what her story really was. I think this is why I like the movie ending better because it shows Camlla's outcome as dying of a disease and not a mental problem. The wondering off into the desert bothers me and Arturo giving up looking for her, also bothers me. What about calling out the authorities and telling them a psycotic girl has wondered off into the desert.
Last edited by gemini on Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:41 pm

gemini, I can’t say I liked one more than the other because they seemed very different to me. The film was definitely more realistic and less symbolic and as Betty Sue said, kinder and gentler but I don’t think it captured Fante’s intent. I didn’t think Arturo or Camilla carried the hopelessness and desperation I felt from the characters in the book. I didn’t really care for Collin’s portrayal of Arturo, I thought he was sort of wooden and too vulnerable, not angry enough. Selma did a good job and I thought Camilla’s character was rounded out much better. Although from the moment I heard that first cough (shades of Finding Neverland) I knew her time was running out. I did like how the story expanded their time in Laguna and made it more of a love story. I had a few quibbles with minor things, like Arturo’s clothes were too nice and I didn’t really feel the setting like I did in the book. I did like Donald Sutherland (and I’m glad they left out the calf episode too) and I liked Vera’s character more than I did in the book.

I definitely liked the ending better in the book because it worked for the book, especially Camilla’s character. (We will get into the ending of the book in a future question.) The ending in the movie as far as Arturo (and his cheesy moustache) coming back and offering the book to the dust I did like and Parlez, I think you explained it very well!
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:55 pm

I think I need to go back to the book and read the final few pages again.........I felt like the book's ending was really depressing and I was so mad at Sammy! But I can't be specific without a refresher.

I thought the movie was a love story, the book was just so much ripping and tearing at one another. I definitely preferred the movie version -- maybe it was like the earlier comment that we didn't see inside Arturo's head all the time (his head being rather unpleasant scenery).

Not sure the authorities would have looked for Camilla......being Mexican and poor and all of that......and I am not sure what sorts of resources they had back then for desert search and rescue. Having her wander off into the figurative sunset made a dramatic ending..........

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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:36 pm

I agree with you, DitHoT ~ I don't think the movie did a very good job of capturing the setting, which surprised me because I thought they (set designers or whomever) would/could recreate that period in LA rather easily. I remember thinking the lighting was all wrong also...
Colin's performance was actually stronger than I thought it would be. I'd only seen him in tough guy action type roles so it was a pleasant surprise to discover some depth there. I thought the clothes fit (in more ways than one) because Arturo was concerned about dressing the part ~ looking like the dapper, successful writer he wanted to become.
I loved Donald Sutherland, although his portrayal made Hellfrick seems much more sympathic, or noble, than he was in the book. And I'm glad they didn't attempt to film the calf-killing scene. That would've been a huge turn off to audiences. :yuck:
The actress who played Vera was wonderful. She had the best part in the movie, IMO, and played it very well. I liked Selma as Camilla, but I had trouble seeing her as particularly damaged or desperate, which is the way I saw Camilla in the book. In the book, her wandering off into the desert was a perfect ending in the tragic scheme of things. It also fit the random, meandering style of writing which likewise didn't seem to find a conclusion or go anywhere definite a lot of the time.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:55 pm

I couldn't help thinking, too, DITHOT, that the movie did not capture Fante's intent. It was more palatable to me but certainly didn't have all the angst of the novel. The characters were really quite different, and I wondered what Fante thought of watering them down.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:08 pm

Sorry I have not responded sooner. Real life, you know. I am enjoying reading your responses to this question.

DITHOT, I felt like I was reading my own writing when I read your response. However, I did like Colin in the role. I thought he played it with much sensitivity, which allowed me to like Arturo more. And although I liked Selma in the role, she was not how I pictured Camilla.

And shades of Finding Neverland indeed—but for an entirely different reason—it Hollywoodized it. It didn’t stay true to the story. Did you notice that he referred to Hackmuth as Mencken? There was even a photo of Mencken on the wall of his room. Betty Sue, I think Fante would have been disappointed the film.

Parlez, I like the way you expressed yourself. I, too, liked the ending of the book better. That said, I think that if I had never read the book I would have enjoyed the movie more. I think it really hit me how little of the essence of the book came across in the movie when my DH (who had not read the book) said that he liked the movie and that, “it was a nice little love story.”
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Unread postby suec » Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:01 pm

DIDHOT, you have pretty much summed up how I felt about the movie. I thought the movie was very different indeed from the book, for many reasons outlined in the discussion already. I also thought that the actors were too old to play Arturo and Camilla. They were good performances in the context of that particular movie, but not true to the book, and that age difference makes a difference. I can see why they were cast though. I also thought the film was bland.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:46 pm

I want to go back to the ending of the film (not the book)…..

I felt it was unrealistic. I was angry with Camilla for kissing Arturo passionately when she knew she was extremely contagious and then telling him she loved him. But it also bothered me in the book early on that both Camilla and Arturo didn’t seem to be concerned at all with being exposed to TB even though they knew it could be deadly.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gemini » Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:44 pm

Liz wrote:I want to go back to the ending of the film (not the book)…..

I felt it was unrealistic. I was angry with Camilla for kissing Arturo passionately when she knew she was extremely contagious and then telling him she loved him. But it also bothered me in the book early on that both Camilla and Arturo didn’t seem to be concerned at all with being exposed to TB even though they knew it could be deadly.


Liz you hit on in your first post what I think made a big difference to me.

I think that if I had never read the book I would have enjoyed the movie more.


Since I watched the movie before I read the book, I think it is one of the reasons I didn't like the book as well. I had a mental image of the romance in the movie that really never came to be in the book and after the movie, the book seemed probably more harsh than I would have considered it had I read it first.

Back to your comment about the movie ending, I agree with you and had the same feeling about TB being contagious. I think in the movie they also used TB to show Camillas closeness to Sammy because she caught it from him.
Nebraska mentioned that since she was poor and Mexican that there would not likely be any attempt at rescue from the desert and it made me think that the same feeling may have made them feel TB was a death sentence. Remember once to Arturo, Camilla said "Sammy is dying" and she must have thought that there was no cure for her either. They must have thought that going to a sanitarium was only for white well to do people.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:35 pm

Parlez, I remember thinking the lighting was wrong too, it was too bright or artificial.

gemini, I can see that if you saw the movie first you wouldn't have been expecting the story in the book. I'm glad I read the book first in this case. I agree about the TB treatment, I'm sure the poorer classes did not have access to the same treatment as the wealthier folks.
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