The Green Mile (film)
|The Green Mile|
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
|Directed by||Frank Darabont|
|Screenplay by||Frank Darabont|
|Based on||The Green Mile|
by Stephen King
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Edited by||Richard Francis-Bruce|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$290.7 million|
The film stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell. The film also features Dabbs Greer in his final film, as the older Paul Edgecomb. The film, told in a flashback format, tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the U.S. Great Depression, and the supernatural events he witnessed.
The film received positive reviews from critics, and was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Sound, and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
In a Louisiana assisted-living home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the 1930s film Top Hat. His companion Elaine becomes concerned, and Paul explains to her that the film reminded him of the events of 1935, which took place during the Great Depression when he was a prison officer, in charge of death row, what they refer to as the "Green Mile".
In 1935, Paul supervises officers Brutus Howell, Dean Stanton, Harry Terwilliger, and Percy Wetmore at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Paul is suffering from a severe bladder infection and receives John Coffey, a physically imposing but mentally challenged and gentle black man, into his custody. John had been sentenced to death after being convicted of raping and murdering two white girls. One of the other inmates is a Native-American named Arlen Bitterbuck, who is charged with murder and is the first to be executed. Percy demonstrates a severe sadistic streak, but gets away with it because he is the governor's nephew. He is particularly abusive with inmate Eduard Delacroix (Del); he breaks Del's fingers with his baton, steps on a pet mouse named Mr. Jingles, which Del had adopted, repeatedly calls him by a gay slur, and ultimately sabotages his execution by deliberately not soaking the sponge used to conduct electricity to Del's head. As a result, Del suffers a longer and more painfully graphic death by catching fire and burning alive.
John begins to demonstrate supernatural powers; he cures Paul's bladder infection, resurrects Mr. Jingles, and heals a dying Melinda Moores, wife of the prison's chief warden, of a brain tumor. He later releases her affliction into Percy, who under its influence shoots dead another prisoner, mass murderer William "Wild Bill" Wharton. Wharton had been a troublemaker ever since his arrival. He assaulted the guards when escorted into the block, made mischief on two occasions that later caused Paul to order him restrained in the block's padded cell, groped Percy, made a racist remark in John's presence, and revealed psychically to John that he in fact raped and murdered the two white girls. John was arrested for Wharton's crime as he had been at the scene unsuccessfully trying to resurrect the two white children with his powers. John then reveals the story psychically to Paul, who is also given a snippet of his supernatural energy. Meanwhile, Percy is committed to an insane asylum after entering a vegetative state.
Paul discusses with John the possibility of an unlikely long term escape, as he does not wish to execute what he perceives is a miracle of God. Although distraught over the notion of being executed while innocent, John tells Paul that he has been through enough psychical experience with humanity’s cruelty. Mentioning that he had never seen a movie before, John watches Top Hat with the other guards as a last request. John is executed that night; he asks that the customary hood not be placed over his head, as he is afraid of the dark. Paul concludes his story by telling Elaine that John's was the last execution that he and Brutus supervised. Following Coffey's execution, they both took jobs in the juvenile system.
Elaine realizes that, since he had a grown son in 1935, Paul must be much older than he looks. Paul reveals that he is, in fact, 108 years of age; he was 44 when John walked the Green Mile. Not only is he still alive, but so is Del's mouse, Mr. Jingles. Paul continues to explain that although John never intended for it to happen, his curing of Paul has given him an extraordinary lifespan, causing him to outlive his family and friends, which he perceives is a punishment from God for executing John, and will also outlive Elaine. Paul later attends her funeral and muses that if John's power could make a normally short-lived mouse live for six decades as Mr. Jingles has, how much longer does he himself have left.
- Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb
- Dabbs Greer as Old Paul
- David Morse as Brutus "Brutal" Howell
- Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb
- Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey
- James Cromwell as Warden Hal Moores
- Michael Jeter as Eduard Delacroix
- Graham Greene as Arlen Bitterbuck
- Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore
- Sam Rockwell as William "Wild Bill" Wharton
- Barry Pepper as Dean Stanton
- Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry Terwilliger
- Patricia Clarkson as Melinda Moores
- Harry Dean Stanton as Toot-Toot
- Bill McKinney as Jack Van Hay
- Brent Briscoe as Bill Dodge
- Eve Brent as Elaine Connelly
- William Sadler as Klaus Detterick
- Paula Malcomson as Marjorie Detterick
- Evanne and Bailey Drucker as Kathy and Cora Detterick
- Gary Sinise as Burt Hammersmith
The Detterick family, which John Coffey was wrongly convicted of victimizing, is played by William Sadler and Paula Malcomson as the parents, with young sisters Evanne and Bailey Drucker playing their murdered daughters.
Darabont adapted the novel into a screenplay in under eight weeks.
Morse had not heard about the script until he was offered the role. He stated he was in tears by the end of it. Darabont wanted Cromwell from the start, and after he read the script, Cromwell was moved and agreed.
Duncan credited his casting to Bruce Willis, with whom he had worked on the film Armageddon one year earlier. According to Duncan, Willis introduced him to Darabont after hearing of the open call for John Coffey.
Basketball player Shaquille O’Neal was considered for the role of John Coffey.
Hanks was originally supposed to play elderly Paul Edgecomb as well but the makeup tests did not make him look credible enough to be an elderly man. Because of this Greer was hired to play older Edgecomb.
The official film soundtrack, Music from the Motion Picture The Green Mile, was released on December 19, 1999 by Warner Bros. It contains 37 tracks, primarily instrumental tracks from the film score by Thomas Newman. It also contains four vocal tracks: "Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" by Billie Holiday, "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?" by Gene Austin, and "Charmaine" by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 80% based on 132 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The critical consensus states "Though The Green Mile is long, critics say it's an absorbing, emotionally powerful experience." The film also has a score of 61 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 36 critics indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars out of 4, writing "The film is a shade over three hours long. I appreciated the extra time, which allows us to feel the passage of prison months and years." Forbes commentator Dawn Mendez referred to the character of John Coffey as a "'magic Negro' figure"—a term describing a stereotypical fictional black person depicted in a fictional work as a "saintly, nonthreatening" person whose purpose in life is to solve a problem for or otherwise further the happiness of a white person.
Awards and honors
- Nominated – Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Best Picture – David Valdes, Frank Darabont
- Nominated – Best Sound – Robert J. Litt, Elliot Tyson, Michael Herbick and Willie D. Burton
- Nominated – Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published – Frank Darabont
- Won – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Won – Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Clarkson
- Won – Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
- Nominated – Best Director – Frank Darabont
- Nominated – Best Music – Thomas Newman
2000 Broadcast Music Incorporated Film & TV Awards
- Won – Film Music Award – Thomas Newman
2000 Black Reel Awards
- Won – Theatrical – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
- Won – Favorite Actor – Drama – Tom Hanks
- Nominated – Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Favorite Supporting Actress – Drama – Bonnie Hunt
2000 Bram Stoker Awards
- Nominated – Best Screenplay – Frank Darabont
- Won – Best Screenplay, Adaptation – Frank Darabont
- Won – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Best Film
1999 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Most Promising Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – Frank Darabont
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Michael Clarke Duncan
2000 NAACP Image Awards
- Nominated – Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Michael Clarke Duncan
2000 MTV Movie Awards
- Nominated – Best Breakthrough Male Performance – Michael Clarke Duncan
2000 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Awards)
- Nominated – Best Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR – Mark A. Mangini, Julia Evershade
- Nominated – Best Sound Editing – Effects and Foley – Mark A. Mangini, Aaron Glascock, Howell Gibbens, David E. Stone, Solange S. Schwalbe
- Won – Favorite All-Around Motion Picture
- Won – Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture
- Nominated – Best Script – Frank Darabont
- Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Cast
- Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture — Doug Hutchison
- "The Green Mile (1999)". IMDb. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- Box Office Information for The Green Mile. The Numbers. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "About the Film". Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
- Darabont, Frank (Director) (December 10, 1999). The Green Mile (Motion picture). United States: Warner Bros.
- Doty, Meriah (September 4, 2012). "Bruce Willis helped Michael Clarke Duncan get his Oscar caliber role". Yahoo! Movies.
- "15 Things You Might Not Know About The Green Mile". mentalfloss.com. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "The Green Mile (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- "The Green Mile Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- "The Green Mile". Roger Ebert dot com. December 10, 1999.
- Mendez, Dawn (January 23, 2009). "The 'Magic Negro'". Forbes. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- "The 72nd Academy Awards (2000) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- Lyman, Rick (March 28, 2000). "Oscar Victory Finally Lifts the Cloud for DreamWorks". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
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