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Varying Interpretations of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

Varying Interpretations of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

The true meaning of varying interpretations comes alive when one compares the two film versions of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now have the same basic outline and underlying themes, however the plots, characters, settings, time, purposes, and points of view differ enough to create two extremely different effects and two entirely opposite movies. Both movies depict an insanity: of man in Heart of Darkness and of war in Apocalypse Now. It is ironic that Heart of Darkness, the movie replica of the novel, is a boring, slow-paced flop of a production, while Apocalypse Now, a loosely based film, had great success and audience appeal. Heart of Darkness is a 1994 Turner Network Television (TNT) Pictures made for TV movie, directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is based so exactly on the Joseph Conrad novel that the differences between the two are almost indiscernible. As in the novel, the Nellie floats on the Thames River while Marlow, played by Tim Roth, tells of his journey into Africa. He is employed by an English trading company and assigned to sail up the Congo to the inner ivory station. He takes along Mfumu, a black native cannibal, as a companion. They encounter strange situations with company managers, the accountant, natives, cannibals, a sunken ship, and natural disasters. All along the way, Marlow hears of Kurtz, the corrupted chief of the Inner Station, played by John Malkovich, and becomes obsessed with finding him. As he nears the station, natives attack the boat and kill Mfumu. Marlow meets a Harlequin who tells him personal stories about Kurtz and his methods of becoming both admired and feared by the native tribe. Wh…

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…calypse’ cast filled with rage created 1994 (accessed 23 Jan. 1997).

Heart of Darkness. Dir. Nicolas Roeg. Turner Network Television (TNT) Pictures, 1994.

Heart of Darkness: Theme/Symbol/Allusion/Foreshadow (accessed 23 Jan. 1997).

Nash, Jay Robert, and Stanley Ralph Ross. “Apocalypse Now” The Motion Picture Guide. Chicago: Cinebooks, 1985.

Urch, Martin. Apocalypse Now: A film review by Martin Urch created 1994 (accessed 23 Jan. 1997).

Virtanen, Panu S. The filming of ‘Apocalypse Now’ (accessed 26 Jan. 1997).

Virtanen, Panu S. Plot summary of ‘Apocalypse Now’ (accessed 26 Jan. 1997).

Comparing Mary Anne in Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong and Kurtz in Apocalypse Now

Comparing Mary Anne in Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong and Kurtz in Apocalypse Now

In 1979, Francis Coppola released a film that he said he hoped “would give its audience a sense of the horror, the madness, the sensuousness, and the moral dilemma of the Vietnam war” (as quoted in Hagen 230). His film, Apocalypse Now, based on Joseph Conrad’s 1902 novel Heart of Darkness, is the story of Captain Benjamin Willard’s (Martin Sheen) journey to the interior of the jungle of Southeastern Asia for the purpose of executing his orders to track down Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Once Kurtz is located, Willard is to “terminate his command with extreme prejudice” because Kurtz has raised an army of deserters and natives, whom he rules over like a fanatical war lord- When Willard finally reaches Kurtz’s compound and meets him, he discovers a man who has descended into primitive barbarism. From the beginning of their encounter, Kurtz knows why Willard was sent to find him and makes no effort to stop Willard from slaying him with a machete. With his mission accomplished, Willard boards the boat that will take him. back to civilization.

Tim O’Brien’s story “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong” is like Apocalypse Now in that it is also about a character who “crossed to the other side.” Her name is Mary Anne and her boyfriend, Mark Fossie, has her shipped over to Vietnam to be with him. However, instead of reacting to the atmosphere of the war as Fossie thougbt she would, she becomes fascinated with the mystery of it, and over the course of the story is completely drawn in by the jungle’s allure. Over a period of weeks, she disappears on ambushes with a nearby squad of Green Berets and when finally confronted by Fossie, he fi…

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…e Now (1979): Joseph Conrad and the Television War.” Hollvwood As Historian: American Film in a Cultural Context. Ed. Peter C. Rollins. Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1983. 230-245.

O’Brien, Tim. “How to Tell a True War Story,” Writing As Re-Vision: A Studenl’s Anthology Ed. Beth Alvarado and Barbara Cully. Needham Heights, MA: Simon and Schuster Custom Publishing, 1996. 550-558.

__________. “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,.” The Things They Carried. New York: Viking Penguin. 1990. 101-125.

__________. “The Vietnam in Me.” Writing As Re- Vision: A Student’s Antholoqy. 559-571.

Phillips, Gene D. Conrad and Cinema: The Art of Adaptation. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1995.

Watts, Cedric. ‘Heart of Darkness.’ The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad. Ed. J.H. Stape. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 45-62.

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