Comparing Washington Square Book with the Heiress Film
How fair is it to compare an original novel with its film? Concerning William Wyler’s The Heiress, a film adapted from the Washington Square by Henry James the matter is more than complicated. First, the screenplay directed by Goetz is not grounded on the Novel but extracted from their play, The Heiress produced in 1948 on Broadway. Second, Goetz’s claim in the film’s title sequence and the play script, both the film and its cinematic rendering are merely suggested by the original novel (Raw 243). To summarize, the characters who suffer in the story, find happiness at last in the play. Hence the unpredictable transformation of materials in changing from one medium to another is executed willingly by James himself. A comparison of Washington Square and The Heiress, then should not focus on how the original novel is violated by the film, at the expense of the dominant principle of adaptation, nor must it view one as an interpretation of the other. Instead, the comparison must weigh the unusual twists and transformations concerning their appropriateness to the artistic wholes. The current essay will provide an in-depth comparison of Washington Square novel by Henry James and Wyler’s The Heiress with a primary focus on the main character Catherine.