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