How would Washington Irving feel about Tim Burton’s film “adaptation” of his story called Sleepy Hollow?
I recently watched Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and noticed the vast differences between the film and Washington Irving’s short story.
There are many differences between the short story and the recent film adaptation (which came out in 1999). Firstly, in the film Crane is a police officer, not a school teacher. Also, people are actually killed in the film, unlike the short story. Irving may not have liked so many plot changes.
But the biggest thing that probably would have upset Irving was the depiction of the Headless Horseman. In the short story, it implies that the Headless Horseman may have been Brom Bones in disguise. In the film, the Headless Horseman is real and terrorizes the town’s residents. In order to defeat the horseman, Crane reattaches its head and the Horseman is sent to hell. Irving is probably rolling in his grave.
The film completely misses the marks and the themes that Washington Irving conveyed. The book details about how the town believes in the Headless Horseman and carries on the legend by word of mouth, basically throwing out all natural and logical reasons for things in favor of the supernatural. The film shows the townspeople ought to be afraid for a reason. Also, the film shows that the Headless Horseman is real and in the short story it is not true. Irving is trying to show in his short story the power of legend and telling stories has, and proves this by showing in the end that the Headless Horseman is a myth all along.
Do you think that Washington Irving would like that his story has become a classic and has other artists try to convey his work? Or would Irving be upset that the popular film is nothing like his story?