Of Mice and Men

I’m watching the more recent film version of Of Mice and Men .  This is a good remake with Gary Sinise as George and John Malkovich as Lenny .  George has just discovered Lenny with a dead mouse , taken it from him , and thrown it away , tossed it as far as he could, flinging it  out into the brush .  ” It ain’t fresh ,” he tells Lenny . Lenny starts crying . ” You get yourself a fresh one and I’ll let you keep it awhile .”

I liked the earlier version of the film too . It was made in 1939 and starred Burgess Meredith as George and Lon Chaney Jr. as George .

Ray Walston plays Candy ,  the crippled ranch hand , in the more recent version . I remember Ray Walston from an old TV series called My Favorite Martian .  Great actor ,  Ray Walston . He played in Damn Yankees .

” She’s perdy , ” Lenny says about Curley’s wife in the newer version . George confronts him right away .big hat

” You stay away from her ,”  warns George .   Sherilyn Fenn plays a bored and  sexy Curley’s wife .  In the 1939 movie  Betty Field played the role . In the 1939 movie Curley was played by Bob Steele .  Steele was a little too slick for me ; he didn’t quite fit in the role of a ranch guy .

Curley’s wife is flirting with George right now .  She’s  sitting on a couch in a barn . He’s wary . ” You ever had a sweetheart ? A good lookin’  guy like you must have had a million sweethearts . Your name’s George , ain’t it ? ” .

Ray Walston’s dog stinks up the bunkhouse . He is persuaded to let the beloved  dog be killed . Roman Bohnan played it sadder in 1939 , but  Walston plays it better ,  I think ,  less melodramatic . Just my opinion . They both played the part well .

Curley comes  upon his wife and George in the barn   . Angry .  ” Get on back to the house ,” he tells her .

” You don’t own me ,  Curley ,”  she answers  , but she goes .

What strikes me about the story is how George cares for Lenny , tries to keep him out of trouble , takes responsibility for him .

John Steinbeck published Of Mice and Men  in 1937 . It tells the story of two migrant farm workers , Lenny Small and George Milton .  You probably know the story .  Steinbeck did that kind of bindlestiff work for awhile in the 1920’s , I’ve read .

” Hey , what happened to Curley’s hand ? ”

” He got it caught in a machine .”
” Balony .”

” Hey , how’d you get those bruises on your face ? ” Lenny holds  up a burlap bag of grain in front of his face to hide the bruises . Curley punched Lenny repeatedly in the face . Lenny , dumbfounded by this bully’s attack , finally grabbed Curley’s hand , held it ,  and crushed it . In the 1939 film , someone talked of a small guy picking on a big guy . Was it Slim sharing that insight with George ?

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas in1902 and died in new York City in 1968 .

” Ain’t nobody talk no hurt to George , ” Lenny, with fire in his eyes ,  tells the black ranch hand who bunks alone , Crooks , who had been teasing Lenny by suggesting that George might not come back and Lenny would be locked up in  a booby hatch .

Charles Bickford plays Slim in the earlier version .  He’s a good character actor . He fits in the role . A bit old , perhaps.    John Terry fits better , I think , in the Gary Sinise film .  Both are good , though .  I guess you’ll have to watch both versions and make up your own mind .

Curley’s wife is flirting with Lenny in a barn now . Bad news . We all know what is going to happen .  John Malkovich is a great actor .  ” I don’t like Curley. I coulda been in the movies , ” she tells Lenny . ” Do you like to feel velvet ? ”  Lenny begins stoking her hair .

” Don’t mess it up ,” she tells Lenny .

I think I had Lenny in some classes when I was teaching .

” You’re gonna get me in trouble ,” he tells her . ” George don’t want you to get me in trouble . ”

” I done a bad thing ,” he says after he accidently smothers her to keep her from screaming. Another mouse accidentally crushed . Candy , Ray Walston , comes upon her dead body .

” You oughtn’t ta sleep out here , ” he says to her  . And then he realizes she’s dead . ” Jesus Christ , ” he says . ” What we gonna do now ,  George ? ”

Yeah , I had a friend like that once , like Lenny ; his own worst enemy . He didn’t capture mice to pet , though .  And he didn’t have a partner like George to keep him out of trouble  . And it wasn’t the Great Depression ,  just his own personal one .

The ranch hands are riding out to get Lenny now , with rifles , ready to kill him . Curley , with his bandaged hand , is leading the charge . Do you know what happens ? Do you remember ? 

Last scene in the 1992 film : Flashbacks of George and Lenny together , walking .

5 Comments

Filed under humor

5 responses to “Of Mice and Men

  1. Yep, that was a sad one. Too bad. I prefer happy endings.

  2. jaciforna

    I enjoyed reading your post! I have not seen the movie but I may just have to rent it on Netflix now 🙂

  3. Sallyanne

    It’s been a long time since discussing the book or the movie…that was good Dan…which way did he go George?

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