Outline the differences between the novel ‘Sharpe’s Company’ and the film adaptation. Suggest reasons for the differences and comment on the effectiveness of the film. Bernard Cornwell wrote the novel ‘Sharpe’s company’. The novel is about Richard Sharpe; He is raised from the ranks and is trying to obtain a promotion. Meanwhile, he is trying to reach his wife and child who are in Badajoz. Carlton television has made the novels into films. One of the differences in the plot was at the beginning. The attack on Ciudad Rodrigo was not included in the film.
There were parts of the novel, which were not included at the start of the film such as the introduction of the characters Lieutenant Harry Price, Patrick Harper and Colonel Lawford. The film begins at chapter 4 of the novel, when Sharpe chops Lawfords arm off. The beginning of the novel was described in the film instead of being acted out. This could have been because the scriptwriter wanted the film to start with a dramatic battle scene; this would grip people and make them want to carry on watching. I think the beginning of the novel was better than the beginning of the film because it was more descriptive and more understandable.
Another difference in the transition from Novel to film is when the army’s baggage gets stolen. In the novel, the baggage is stolen at night. In the film, it is stolen during the day. The reason for this is that, if the scenes were shot at night, viewers may not be able to see what is going on very well. Teresa didn’t find the locket with Jane Gibbons’ picture in it, I think this was an important part of the story because it shows that Sharpe isn’t always loyal and he isn’t the perfect man. I think they left this out of the film to make Sharpe look better and make people like him and see him as a hero.
Some of the characters have been changed quite dramatically from novel to film. The most dramatic change was the character of Obadiah Hakeswill. In the film, he was completely different to what I had expected. The description in the novel portrays him in a very different way: ‘ … His skin was yellowish, a legacy of the fever islands. His hair was blond, going grey, and stretched over his scarred scalp, falling lank to the stretched, tensed, obscenely mutilated neck… ‘ The actor who plays Hakeswill (Pete postlethwaite) has tried to get into the role as best as he can and he has done quite well.
He has the same mannerisms as hakeswill, e. g. : the uncontrollable twitch. The actor doesn’t look much like Hakeswill but it would be hard to find someone quite as disgusting and repulsive as the character in the novel! Hakeswill is a very important character in the book because he is the one who causes all of the problems and all through the novel Sharpe keeps saying he is going to kill Hakeswill. I think Hakeswill has a bigger role in the film because he has presence when he is on screen. The character of Sharpe is how I had imagined; this is probably because I had already seen the actor before watching the film.
In the novel Sharpe is described as being a dark haired cockney. Instead, he is a light haired Englishman. I think the reason for the change is that the director wanted Sean Bean to act as Sharpe. I think Sean Bean was a wise decision because he could be the main reason some of the women watch Sharpe’s Company. It is a very male orientated book; women may not be interested in wars and fighting. The next character is Teresa (Assumpta Serna). She is also completely different to what I had imagined. From reading the novel, the impression is given that Teresa is an extremely beautiful woman who is very independent and will stand up to anyone.