-Initially I was thinking that my example followed the genetic concept, however, I feel am unclear as to what the Ventriloquist concept really means. In the initial explanation Elliot writes, “it pays no lip service to authorial spirit: rather, it blatantly empties out the novel’s signs and fills them with filmic spirits…Heathcliff abondones Cathy’s corpse to pursue her ghost”(143) Can the ghost not resemble the body?
-What does it mean to empty out and refill? Can the film adaptation result still hold some “resemblance” to the initial text?
In the genetic concept of adaptation, Elliott continues to use Wuthering Heights and suggests that an adaptation can hold a resemblance to the original text, however be different in a number of ways. In referencing McFarlane and the ability to transfer, he cites, “novel and film can share the same story, the same ‘raw materials’, McFarlaine argues, but are distinguished by means of different plot strategies” (150). Elliot continues and states that a separation occurs between content (what is told) and form (how it is told), and that “McFarlaine rightly observes that even when signs transfer intact from novel to film (as when lines of dialogue transfer directly), they are ‘deformed’ by the catalysts that surround them”(151). It seems that in cases where elements of both form and content appear to be transferred from novel to film, other elements involved in the film-making process (catalysts) get in the way- and a full transfer with both content and form is never possible. This speaks back to the constant argument of fidelity. The frustration that readers feel when viewing an adaptation that goes off in a new direction, seems to be inevitable according to Mcfarlaine and Elliott. It appears that even when content and form comes together, the catalysts will never allow for an exact replica- so anyone expecting one will indeed be disappointed, and should not expect this result.
In thinking about the separation between a narrative form and content, for some reason the Chuckie films came to mind (Child’s Play ,etc.) Personally, I absolutely hate scary movies, but have been forced to watch a few over the years. Although Child’s Play/other Chuckie films are not clearly adaptations- Probably because the section before the genetic concept discusses the ventriloquist concept – I thought of two creepy Twilight Zone episodes Talking Tina and The Dummy, which both use a doll and dummy respectively to wreck havoc on the humans around them (in the twilight zone). Talking Tina says things like “I want to kill you” in a nice doll voice to the father of her owner and the ventriloquist dummy is shown to eventually take over the act- becoming the performer and the performer becoming the dummy. They seem to both follow a similar concept in different ways. It seems like the Chuckie movies evoke both the content (what is told) through the talking doll scenario trying to kill in each scenario, as well as, form (how it is told) by giving a new plot and narrative.
In reexamining the Ventriloquist concept, I am not sure if my examples still fit. Can a ghost not resemble the once living body? The equation of this concept is The Novel’s Signifiers + The Film’s Signifieds=The Adaptation’s Signs. Is this happening in the Twilight Zone/Chuckie comparison?
For some reason I can’t make them into links sorry [edit: I fixed it for you. -klf]
Talking Tina Clip
The Dummy Clip
Child’s Play Trailer