Essay title: The Quiet American – a Comparison
The most obvious problem encountered when translating this tale that has been described as a Drama/Thriller/Romance/War all in one is the fact that the book has been written in first person, and the movie being presented in third. This meant that there were extra scenes added into the film that were actually not part of the novel itself, though this being said they filled in gaps and made certain aspects of the film much more obvious and easy for the audience to understand. Films are of course made in accordance to what type of audience they are aiming for, and Noyce decided naturally to aim for a more main stream audience. In order to meet the demands of the main stream audiences he had to adapt the story to third person, so as to be able to give a more balanced or better rounded representation of the events, and to allow us more obviously to find out what the other characters were doing and thinking. It also allowed for what turned out to be a slightly different interpretations of the main characters.Thomas Fowler in the novel is the more sinister character.
Despite his obvious wit he is very cynical, and has an almost pessimistic outlook upon human relationships. It is Pyle in the novel that we are slightly softer towards, for Fowler is quite bitter. He says that he doesn’t care for Phuong’s interests, he just wants her and her body, and that he’d rather have a woman in the room with him that he didn’t love rather than no woman at all.
This makes the reader rather sceptical of him. Michael Caine is excellent as Fowler in the movie however. He plays the aging unmotivated yet skilled reporter well. Fowler in the film is a lot more vulnerable, especially as the film progresses, and his weaknesses start to become a lot more obvious. We are not given any of the dialogue with Fowler telling Pyle how he feels about Phuong. He says that he is detached yet he becomes ferociously involved in what is going on around him.
Thomas Fowler is an extremely complex character, and it is extremely difficult to give him the same depth on film compared to what we get in the book, and we just simply don’t. We are given are more likeable main character who has a little more dignity, and is a little less bitter Fowlers character does still give us that deep sense of how the political and the personal collidePyle is of course almost the more likeable character in the book, but in the novel he is betrayed as being quite the nasty deceitful character. For instance, in the movie Fowler finds out Pyle can speak Vietnamese, when he has been pretending that he cannot for a long time, and not only that, but he speaks it as if it is his native language. Brendan Fraser does still portray him as the perfect.