Of Mice and Men

Adaptations

Cinema

Of Mice and Men was adapted for the screen several times.

The first adaptation was in 1939, two years after the publication of the novella, and starred Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, with Burgess Meredith as George, and was directed by Lewis Milestone.[24] It was nominated for four Oscars.[24]

A TV version, produced by David Susskind in 1968, starred George Segal as George, Nicol Williamson as Lennie, Will Geer as Candy, Moses Gunn as Crooks, and Don Gordon and Joey Heatherton as Curley and his wife.[25]

A 1972 Iranian film, Topoli, directed by Reza Mirlohi was adapted from and dedicated to John Steinbeck and his story.

In 1981 a TV movie version was made, starring Randy Quaid as Lennie, and Robert Blake as George, and directed by Reza Badiyi.[26]

Another theatrical film version was made in 1992, directed by Gary Sinise, who was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.[27] Sinise also played George in the film, and the role of Lennie was played by John Malkovich. For this adaptation, both men reprised their roles from the 1980 Steppenwolf Theatre Company production.[28]

The 1992 Malayalam film Soorya Manasam directed by Viji Thampi is also based on the novel.[29]

Stage

The first stage production was written by Steinbeck, produced by Sam H. Harris and directed by George S. Kaufman. It opened on November 23, 1937, in the Music Box Theatre on Broadway.[30] Running for 207 performances, it starred Wallace Ford as George and Broderick Crawford as Lennie.[30] The role of Crooks was performed by Leigh Whipper, the first African-American member of the Actors' Equity Association.[31] Whipper repeated this role in the 1939 film version.[24]

The production was chosen as Best Play in 1938 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.[32]

In 1939 the production was moved to Los Angeles, still with Wallace Ford in the role of George, but with Lon Chaney, Jr., taking on the role of Lennie. Chaney's performance in the role resulted in his casting in the movie.

The play was revived in a 1974 Broadway production in the Brooks Atkinson Theatre starring Kevin Conway as George and James Earl Jones as Lennie.[33] Noted stage actress Pamela Blair played Curley's Wife in this production.

In 1970 Carlisle Floyd wrote an opera based on this novella. One departure between Steinbeck's book and Floyd's opera is that the opera features The Ballad Singer, a character not found in the book.[34]

A new version of the play opened on Broadway at The Longacre Theater on March 19, 2014 for a limited 18-week engagement, starring James Franco, Chris O'Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton.[35][36]

Radio

Of Mice and Men was adapted by Donna Franceschild as a radio play directed by Kirsty Williams starring David Tennant broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 7 March 2010.[37]

Other references

Numerous works have referred to or parodied aspects of the book, perhaps most notably the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, which often had one character asking another, à la Lon Chaney's characterization of Lennie, "which way did he go, George; which way did he go?"[38]


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