The Green Mile (film)

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The Green Mile
Green mile.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byFrank Darabont
Produced byFrank Darabont
David Valdes
Screenplay byFrank Darabont
Based onThe Green Mile 
by Stephen King
StarringTom Hanks
David Morse
Bonnie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
James Cromwell
Michael Jeter
Graham Greene
Doug Hutchison
Sam Rockwell
Barry Pepper
Jeffrey DeMunn
Patricia Clarkson
Harry Dean Stanton
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyDavid Tattersall
Editing byRichard Francis-Bruce
StudioCastle Rock Entertainment
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 10, 1999 (1999-12-10) (United States)
Running time188 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$60 million
Box office$290,701,374[1]
 
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The Green Mile
Green mile.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byFrank Darabont
Produced byFrank Darabont
David Valdes
Screenplay byFrank Darabont
Based onThe Green Mile 
by Stephen King
StarringTom Hanks
David Morse
Bonnie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
James Cromwell
Michael Jeter
Graham Greene
Doug Hutchison
Sam Rockwell
Barry Pepper
Jeffrey DeMunn
Patricia Clarkson
Harry Dean Stanton
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyDavid Tattersall
Editing byRichard Francis-Bruce
StudioCastle Rock Entertainment
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 10, 1999 (1999-12-10) (United States)
Running time188 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$60 million
Box office$290,701,374[1]

The Green Mile is a 1999 American drama film directed by Frank Darabont adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell. The film also features Dabbs Greer, in his final film, as the old Paul Edgecomb. The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Plot[edit]

In a Louisiana nursing home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the film Top Hat. His elderly friend Elaine shows concern for him, and Paul tells her that the film reminded him of when he was a prison officer in charge of death row inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary during the summer of 1935. The scene shifts to 1935, where Paul works with fellow guards Brutus "Brutal" Howell, Harry Terwilliger, and Dean Stanton.

One day, John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls, arrives on death row. However, he is shy, soft-spoken, and emotional. John reveals extraordinary powers by healing Paul's urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he heals the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores. When John is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he "took it back."

Percy Wetmore, a sadist with a fierce temper, has recently begun working in the death row inmates block; his fellow guards dislike him, but cannot get rid of him because of his family connections to the governor. He demands to manage the execution of Eduard Delacroix, promising that afterward, he will transfer to an administrative post at a mental hospital. An agreement is made, but Percy then deliberately sabotages the execution: Instead of wetting the sponge used to conduct electricity and make executions quick and effective, he leaves it dry, causing the execution to malfunction dramatically.

Meanwhile, a violent prisoner named "Wild Bill" Wharton has arrived, to be executed for multiple murders committed during a robbery. At one point he seizes John's arm, and John psychically senses that Wharton is also responsible for the crime for which John was convicted and sentenced to death. John "takes back" the sickness in Hal's wife and regurgitates it into Percy, who then shoots Wharton to death and falls into a state of permanent catatonia. Percy is then admitted to Briar Ridge Mental Hospital as a patient rather than an administrator. In the wake of these events, Paul interrogates John, who says he "punished them bad men" and offers to show Paul what he saw. John takes Paul's hand and says he has to give Paul "a part of himself" in order for Paul to see what really happened to the girls.

Paul asks John what he should do, if he should open the door and let John walk away. John tells him that there is too much pain in the world, to which he is sensitive, and says he is "rightly tired of the pain" and is ready to rest. For his last request on the night before his execution, John watches the film Top Hat. When John is put in the electric chair, he asks Paul not to put the traditional black hood over his head because he is afraid of the dark. Paul agrees, shakes his hand, and John is executed.

As an elderly Paul finishes his story, he notes that he requested a transfer to a youth detention center, where he spent the remainder of his career. Elaine questions his statement that he had a fully grown son at the time, and Paul explains that he was 44 years old at the time of John's execution and that he is now 108. This is apparently a side effect of John giving a "part of himself" to Paul. Mr. Jingles, Del's mouse resurrected by John, is also still alive — but Paul believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends (including Elaine, who is shown to have died at the end of the movie) to be a punishment from God for having John executed, and wonders how long it will be before his own death.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Darabont adapted the novel into a screenplay in under eight weeks.[2]

The film was shot at Warner Hollywood Studios, West Hollywood, California, and on location in Shelbyville, Tennessee and Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Casting[edit]

Hanks and Darabont met at an Academy Award luncheon in 1994. Stephen King stated he envisioned Hanks in the role and was happy when Darabont mentioned his name.[2]

Morse had not heard about the script until he was offered the role. He stated he was in tears by the end of it.[2] Darabont wanted Cromwell from the start, and after he read the script, Cromwell was moved and agreed.[2]

Duncan has credited his casting to Bruce Willis, with whom he had worked on the film Armageddon one year earlier. According to Duncan, Willis introduced him to Darabont after hearing of the open call for John Coffey[citation needed].

Soundtrack[edit]

The official film soundtrack, Music from the Motion Picture The Green Mile, was released on December 19, 1999 by Warner Bros. It contains 35 tracks, primarily instrumental tracks from the film score by Thomas Newman. It also contains four vocal tracks: "Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" by Billie Holiday, "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?" by Gene Austin, and "Charmaine" by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.

Reception[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics with an 80% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars out of four, writing "The film is a shade over three hours long. I appreciated the extra time, which allows us to feel the passage of prison months and years."[4]

Forbes commentator Dawn Mendez referred to the character of John Coffey as a "'magic Negro' figure"—a term coined by Spike Lee to describe a stereotypical fictional black person depicted in a fictional work as a "saintly, nonthreatening" person whose purpose in life is to solve a problem for or otherwise further the happiness of a white person.[5] Lee himself berated the character as one of several "super-duper, magical Negro[es]" depicting a skewed version of the black male, claiming it was due to the prominence of white decision makers in the media companies.[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1999 Academy Awards[7][8]

2000 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

2000 Broadcast Music Incorporated Film & TV Awards

2000 Black Reel Awards

2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

2000 Bram Stoker Awards

2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

2000 Directors Guild of America

2000 Golden Globe Awards

2000 NAACP Image Awards

2000 MTV Movie Awards

2000 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Awards)

2000 People's Choice Awards

2001 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (Nebula Award)

2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ Box Office Information for The Green Mile. The Numbers. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "About the Film". Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ The Green Mile at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "The Green Mile". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  5. ^ Mendez, Dawn (January 23, 2009). "The 'Magic Negro'". Forbes. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Lee Takes Issue With Depiction of Minorities in Film". San Jose Mercury News. February 7, 2001. p. 2E. 
  7. ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards (2000) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  8. ^ Lyman, Rick (March 28, 2000). "Oscar Victory Finally Lifts the Cloud for DreamWorks". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 

External links[edit]