When going from a play to a movie, many changes are made. Even going from a book to a movie, I can pick out the differences. I usually enjoy reading books or plays and then watching the movie because (of course books are always better) I find it interesting to see the changes that the director made and maybe why he might have made them. I did this to the play and movie of Hairspray and found many changes.
Hairspray takes place in the nineteen sixties in Baltimore. Tracy, a chubby, bubbly teenage girl is striving to dance on her favorite TV show The Corny Collins Show. She tries out when an open spot comes about and eventually gets on the show. She almost instantly becomes popular and adored by the watchers of this show. Besides just dancing, Tracy has a bigger goal: to racially integrate the television. Tracy can do it with the help of her friends.
The main idea of the movie of course doesn’t change. I’m going to be zeroing in on one scene, scene four of both the movie and the play (Act 1 Scene 4), more specifically on the similarities throughout the scene. Scene four is about how Tracy gets sent to detention. In this scene, in the movie and the play, Tracy gets sent to detention by her teacher. When she’s in detention, she meets Seaweed and a lot more of her new African friends. Tracy shows them her dance moves and they are very impressed. In the detention at their school, they are always dancing. They introduce themselves with a signature dance move in both the film and the play. Without similarities between the two, they might as well give it a new title. Similarities are very important in this case.
Now, the differences. Let me first off start by saying there are already differences between the play and the film before you even read or watch them. You can’t see the characters while reading the play, you paint an image in your head of what the characters might look like. While in the movie, or watching the play, you physically see what the characters look like. Just like if there was never a movie made I would have never known how attractive Link is. Actually I watched the movie before I read the play and it almost made me view his whole character in a new way. Not only that but also camera work. The angles of the camera change so much and affect everything. It can soften a scene or intensify it while obviously in the script or on stage the camera isn’t even something you have to worry about. Another thing to consider is music. The music in this play/movie was phenomenal. I think all of the songs really fit the mood of the scenes and just made the movie a lot better. The director and songwriters did an amazing job of the song and lyric choices. They put a fun vibe on the movie that added so much. They did a good job of slowing it down when they needed to or speeding up the beat when needed. For example I love the closing scene when they sing “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” It brought so much life to the scene and you could tell that they were having fun. Also I love the song “Run and Tell That.” Not only because I love Little Inez and her voice, but also because I love the message it sends. These things added a lot to affect Hairspray.
Also, right from the beginning in scene four I noticed a difference. The difference is the way that Tracy got in trouble. In the play, Tracy got sent to detention because her hair was too big. In the sixties, that was the trend and when Tracy put her hair up so big the students behind her couldn’t see. It was implied that it wasn’t the first time this problem came up and Tracy was sent to detention. But in the movie, Tracy cut class to try out for the Corny Collins Show and she was caught and sent to detention. The next difference I found is that in the play, no further characters were shown but in the movie as Tracy was dancing with Seaweed, Link happens to be walking by and sees her dancing and decides to go into the detention room. Some may say the Link was introduced in the movie sooner so that it would show sooner how in love Tracy was with Link. But, I think it’s because the director that turned it into a movie wanted to keep the movie flowing along. There is one more difference I noticed which is that in the play it said that Tracy had come up with the idea to dance with Seaweed and his friends, but in the film not much is mentioned about that in scene four.
I believe that both similarities and differences were good. The director of the movie did a good job of keeping the storyline the same. He also did a good job of changing things that could have been better or of using his resource, the camera to help tell the story.. In all, the director did a good job, and I would say Hairspray is a success, on stage and on the big screen.