2 thoughts on “The Silence of the Lambs (Movie)–Group 1

  1. Karianne Laird

    The difference between the opening scene of the movie and the book instantly caught my attention. The movie starts out with the camera following Clarice Starling alone on a run through foggy woods. As we watch her it feels like a foreshadowing to the male gaze that watches her continuously throughout the movie. The misty woods, her heavy breathing and the ominous music is an instant indication that this a thriller and put me at the edge of my seat from the very beginning. From the very first moment I felt Clarice was being chased by things, which, in some ways, turns out to be true.

    The book, on the other hand, starts in a much less spooky way. The first sentences are matter of fact; “Behavioral Science, the FBI section that deals with serial murder, is on the bottom floor of the Academy building at Quantico, half-buried in the earth. Clarice Starling reached it flushed after a fast walk from Hogan’s Alley on the firing range.” There is a clear difference in tone between the book and the movie which continues throughout the movie, where the movie seems to make alterations to push it into the horror or thriller genre. For example, when Clarice goes to the Split City Mini storage in the book it is not completely dark out, like in the movie. Or in the movie there is a glass wall between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice, making it look like there in fact is nothing between them, increasing the fear in the viewer. I think there are many examples where the movie has put a Hollywood twist on aspects, making it more exaggerated and losing some of the nuance of the book. I also did miss hearing Clarice’s thoughts in the movie, that we sometimes heard in the book.

    1. Madison Brito

      I also found that the movie was a much more dramatized, thriller version of the book. I was reluctant to watch it because I really am not one for horror movies, and I honestly wasn’t able to finish it (and I was glad to learn in the slides that I wasn’t the only one). I really like your reference to the beginning of the movie because I agree the film lost so much of the nuance in the book. While I found it more grotesque and uncomfortable, it was also less exciting. The character’s are given less of a personality, even Buffalo Bill could be included in this list, but Clarice particularly lacked a certain quality she had in the book. For me, this made it seem less real or something you wouldn’t be invested in despite it being something you’re watching real people doing. It’s partially as you say, that we don’t hear Clarice’s thoughts, but I also felt like they really altered her personality, making her more subdued than she was in the book. Perhaps this is heightened by the idea of gaze discussed in the slides – her breaking eye contact feels like a more submissive act than how I think she’s characterized in the novel. I feel like her general shift in character, even if it is minor, contributes to making this a more hollywood, thriller version of the book; she can’t be as assertive or the interactions might not have the same fear inducing effect the movie shoots for. But ultimately, this just made me feel less invested in the movie’s story.

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