Monday, April 16, 2007

Forgetfulness and Confusion

Yesterday, as part of my work on the David Morrell article, I did a detail scan on First Blood and a few others of Morrell's books that I read years ago. First Blood is, of course, the book in which Rambo first appeared. I enjoyed that book when I read it back in the late 70s, but it's amazing, although not unexpected, how many details that I'd forgotten. Part of the source of my forgetfulnes of the book is, naturally, the movie made from the book starring Sylvester Stallone. Here are some things I'd forgotten.

1. Rambo's first name is never given in the book. It is in the movie that we get "John. J."

2. Rambo is taken out of town "twice" by the sheriff and returns a third time before all the crap hits the fan, thus making him somewhat less sympathetic.

3. Rambo does not escape from the police station with a knife in the book.

4. Rambo was raised Catholic.

5. Rambo's mother died of cancer when he was young, and his father was an abusive alcoholic. Rambo shot his father at one time with a bow and arrow.

6. Rambo worked in a garage before joining the military.

7. Rambo gets clothes from some moonshiners in the book.

8. Rambo kills a lot more people in the book.

Interesting how the memory works. Or, fails to work.


Lucas Pederson said...

This is interesting. I never knew there was a book before the movie about Rambo. Now I'm gonna have to go buy it. There's always so much more in a book that can't be really shared correctly in a movie. There's a time limit on most movies, there's budget, that sort of stuff.
I'd really like to learn more about the Rambo character. In the movie he seems so vague in personality. Thanks for this!

Steve Malley said...

I've recently gone through something similar with The Sun Also Rises, and I had to put down Gone With the Wind.

About fifty pages in, I started remembering what happened and couldn't put poor Rhett and Scarlett and Aunt Pitty through all that again...

JR's Thumbprints said...

Usually, the novel is better than the movie. One exception: Steven King's "Shawshank Redemption." Both are equally good.

Michelle's Spell said...

Yeah, memory is an odd thing. I have read the book he wrote on writing -- it's pretty good. As for Rambo, the character has taken on a whole national identity that doesn't have anything to do with the book. That's really interesting to see how it's been coopted in certain ways.

Sidney said...

It's been a long while for me too. I seem to remember a couple of others.

They never really say where they are in the movie, I don't think, but it's obviously the Pacific Northwest. The book's like Tennessee or somewhere in the South isn't it?

Doesn't he encounter bats in the book vs. rats in the movie when he's hiding in caves? I may be criss crossing but I think I figured the rats were easier to wrangle for the film.

Morrell also wrote the novelization based on the screenplay for Rambo: First Blood II or whatever it was called didn't he? Never read that but I heard he further explored the character's background in that book in spite of different outcomes between First Blood on film and First Blood on the page.

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks for posting everyone.

Lucas, JR, the book is better.

Michelle, I've ordered his writing book but haven't gotten it yet.

Sid, First Blood took place in Kentucky. Good memory. And yes, bats were prominent in the book. And there was a very different ending.