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. Pictures|
|Box office||$290.7 million|
The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy crime drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and 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 old Paul Edgecomb. The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed.
In a Louisiana assisted-living home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the 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 when he was a prison officer, in charge of death row and the state's electric chair.
In 1935, Paul supervises fellow officers Brutus "Brutal" Howell, Dean Stanton, Harry Terwilliger and Percy Wetmore at Cold Mountain Penitentiary on what they refer to as the "Green Mile", Death Row. Paul is suffering from a severe bladder infection and receives John Coffey, a physically imposing but mentally challenged black man, into his custody. John had been convicted of raping and murdering two little 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 and bullying streak but is beyond reproach; he is the nephew of Louisiana's First Lady, but only Paul is bold enough to defy this. He is particularly abusive with inmate Eduard "Del" Delacroix; 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 failing to soak the sponge used to conduct electricity to Del's head; Del's body explodes in flames and he dies screaming in pain.
John begins to demonstrate supernatural powers; he cures Paul's bladder infection, resurrects Mr. Jingles, and heals Melinda Moores, wife of the prison's chief warden, of a brain tumor. This last affliction he releases into Percy, who under its influence shoots another prisoner, mass murderer William Wharton, dead. Wharton had from the moment of his arrival been a troublemaker; he attacked the guards as he was being escorted into the block, made mischief on two occasions later which caused Paul to order him restrained in the block's padded cell, groped Percy briefly, racially insulted John, and revealed psychically to John that he is in fact responsible for the crime for which John was unjustly condemned. John then reveals the story psychically to Paul, but in so doing releases his supernatural energy into Paul. Meanwhile, Percy is committed to the insane asylum which Wharton had come from.
Distraught over the notion of executing an innocent man, John tells Paul that he does in fact wish to die as he views the world as a cruel place. 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, although he refuses the customary hood as he is afraid of the dark. Paul concludes his story by telling Elaine that John's was the last execution that either he or 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. Not only is he still alive, so is Del's mouse, Mister Jingles. Paul then muses that if John's power could make a mouse live for as long as Mr. Jingles has, how much longer does he himself have left?
- Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, a kind officer
- Dabbs Greer portrays an older version of Paul Edgecomb
- Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, a gentle giant man convicted of alleged murders
- David Morse as Brutus "Brutal" Howell, Paul's best friend and confidant at the Green Mile
- Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb, Paul's wife.
- James Cromwell as Hal Moores, the prison warden that Paul and his group work for.
- Michael Jeter as Eduard "Del" Delacroix, a kind, Cajun-accented inmate convicted of arson
- Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore, a sadistic, bothersome guard who tortures the inmates
- Sam Rockwell as William "Wild Bill" Wharton, a completely evil and troublemaking inmate who's the real perpetrator of John's charges
- Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry Terwilliger, one of the guards of the Green Mile.
- Barry Pepper as Dean Stanton, another guard of the Green Mile.
- Patricia Clarkson as Melinda Moores, Hal's ill wife.
- Brent Briscoe as Bill Dodge, another guard of the Green Mile.
- Harry Dean Stanton as Toot-Toot, the comedic custodian who often helps the guards rehearse for execution.
- Gary Sinise as Burt Hammersmith, John's defense lawyer who Paul visits.
- Graham Greene as Arlen Bitterbuck, an inmate at the Green Mile convicted of murder.
- William Sadler as Klaus Detterick, the dad of the girls John allegedly killed.
- Bill McKinney as Jack Van Hay, a guard at the Green Mile who operates the kill switch of the electric chair.
- Jon Polito as "D" Block Prison Guard
- Eve Brent as Elaine Connelly, Paul's friend in the modern-era of the film.
- Paula Malcomson as Marjorie Detterick, the mother of the two girls John allegedly murdered and Klaus's wife.
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.
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 a score of 80%, based on 132 reviews. 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 Mixing – Robert J. Litt, Elliot Tyson, Michael Herbick, Willie D. Burton
- Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay – 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
2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
- Won – Best Screenplay, Adaptation – Frank Darabont
- Won – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
- Nominated – Best Film
2000 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
2000 Golden Globe Awards
- 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
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- "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". Retrieved November 1, 2011.
- Doty, Meriah (September 4, 2012). "Bruce Willis helped Michael Clarke Duncan get his Oscar caliber role". Yahoo! Movies.
- "The Green Mile". December 10, 1999. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- "The Green Mile". metacritic. December 10, 1999. 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.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-14.
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