Zapata (John Steinbeck) pdf, epub, doc

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This book represents the first time that two certain pieces of work by John Steinbeck were published in one volume. The first section contains what is called a 'screen narrative' titled Zapata A Narrative, In Dramatic Form, of the Life Of Emiliano Zapata. The second part of the book offers the original screenplay Steinbeck wrote for the 1952 movie Viva Zapata! starring Marlon Brando as Zapata.

The movie as filmed differs from the original screenplay as printed here: many scenes were cut, or never filmed, dialogue was changed, and so forth. And the original screenplay is very very different from the screen narrative. Liberties were taken with the movie script that were not at all present in the narrative. This is one of the issues that makes this book tricky for me to review and rate.

I'll start at the beginning. The narrative is almost like reading Steinbeck's journal. We see his plans for the film taking shape, we see his research and attention to small details, we sense his admiration for the people of Mexico, and especially we feel his respect for Emiliano Zapata. This section has 'scenes' for the movie with 'notes' on backgrounds, cultural and historical details, and personal thoughts between the scenes.

Some of his thoughts: "Zapata's life was devotion to an idea that never changed....The resolution in Zapata seemed to have been born into him....and if I make it anything else I will be lying about him...Even the people who hated him agree that he was devoted, incorruptible, and fearless always. There was no internal struggle in the man, no uncertainty, no barrier of fear to overcome....I am trying to take an Indian's eye
view of him...to them he could do no wrong."


And yet the man who had these thoughts about the actual Zapata allowed the film version of Zapata to be insecure, slow-witted, and needing guidance by a completely fictional character who was never even mentioned in the Narrative. And how does one go from near hero-worship to lying? Simple: Hollywood. I know that a script writer is not actually very high on the food chain in the movie business, even one of Steinbeck's caliber. But I was thoroughly disappointed that Steinbeck veered so sharply from his original vision. He should have fought for the ideas he first offered and refused to allow the film to be made in any other fashion. Zapata would have stood firm; it is really a shame that Steinbeck did not.

I was intrigued at the creative process displayed in the Narrative. I was touched by the respect shown to the people of Mexico in Steinbeck's awareness of the culture and insistence that it be respected on screen. I was thankful for the chance to read more about a man whose life is endlessly fascinating for me; a man I wish I could sit down and talk with, if only to thank him for being who he was: Emiliano Zapata, my husband's
great-grandfather.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
  • File: 1.1 Mb
  • Ganre: Fiction
  • Release: 01.08.2003
  • ISBN: 9780141186283
  • Pages 0
  • Rating: 4.29 (251 votes)

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