Blog Entry #3 Hansel and Gretel

The main plot of Hansel and Gretel is mostly the same for both the original Grimm tale and the remake of it in the MGM film. The story line of Hansel and Gretel tells of a young brother and sister who are living in a lower class family. They have a very close relationship and they would do anything for one another. One day, they get lost in the woods and come across a deceivingly, delicious-looking gingerbread house that happens to be the home of a wicked old witch who lures children in with her tasty baked goods and candies. Once she captures the children she feeds them until they are plump and then bakes them in her large oven so that she may eat the children. This main idea of the story is shown in both the original book and in the more recent movie version. Although the story remains the same, there are many small differences that I noticed.

A difference in the film that stuck out to me was how Hansel and Gretel’s mother acted towards them. In the beginning of the movie she acts as a loving mother. She only shows her dark side when she is disappointed in the children for letting the donkey in the house but when they did not return from picking berries, we could see the look of motherly concern on her face. Another major difference in the movie is the amount of time in which the whole story takes place. In the original story, it takes the children about three days before they come across the witch’s gingerbread house; in contrast, they find the house the same day that they are sent out into the woods to pick berries. A less important difference shown in the film is that there is a lot of singing than in the original tale. Also, after they kill the witch at the end of the movie, her magic stick turns into the gold that brings them wealth whereas in the original tale, they find the gold and jewels in the gingerbread house.

Many of the differences in the stories are only small details. However, the similarities are shown in the main context of the story. For example, in both versions Hansel and Gretel’s family is a poor family with little food. The father in both of the stories appears to be the more loving of the two parents and the mothers, although not nearly as cruel in the movie as she is in the book, portrays a mean mother who does not love her children quite as much. In both of the versions the children get lost in the woods and find the witch’s gingerbread house where she traps them in order to fatten Hansel up so that she may later eat him for dinner.

The version of Hansel and Gretel that we watched was made in 1987 while the original Grimm tale was written in the early 1800’s. There is almost a 200 year difference of the two versions which is a big reason that the director of the movie would have made the changes that he did. Another reason there were changes made was just like many of the other fairy tales that were rewritten; they had to appeal to a wider audience. The original Grimm tales were often written for adults, not children. They usually had a more sexual innuendo behind them. When the Grimm tales were turned into movies, the directors would take that out and make it more appropriate for children by adding singing and talking animals, or in this case talking gingerbread boys and girls. They added the idea of children magically being turned into cookies and the witch’s magic staff magically turning into gold coins. By making these changes, the new version of the movie would be appropriate for children and still be entertaining for adults too.


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