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Romanticizing Uncle Tom's Cabin

            Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe has been adapted numerous times since its debut. However, the novel was adapted mostly during the Silent Film era, "with at least nine known adaptations between 1903- 1927"1. The adaptation released in 1927 directed by Harry Pollard, recalls some of the intentionality of Stowe's novel amongst synchronized music, dancing and awkward gestures. Yet, the film has it's own unique turn of events in addition to an array of changes that do not occur in the novel. For instance, throughout the film, many aspects related to the themes of plantation romance and minstrelsy seen in Bamboozled such as happy, singing and dancing slaves (some even in black face) presents a very unrealistic portrayal of the lifestyles of slaves and the families that owned them. Rather than preserving the sentiment of Stowe's anti-slavery propaganda, the film loses much of Stowe's harsh critique of slavery by glamorizing the plantation. This ultimately alters the tone, which leads to a complete deviation away from the story that Stowe tells in the novel. .
             While it is clear that Pollard tried to keep the storyline similar to the novel, the film definitely take its on own alterations. In the novel, the story begins in the middle of a conversation between Shelby and Haley, the slave trader. During the conversation, Haley describes Shelby's slaves to be "spoiled". As the story progresses, it is clear that Shelby's slaves live a rather comfortable life that surely many slaves of that time did not live. This is evident as Haley is appalled at Shelby when he explains that he sends Tom on monetary errands and allowed Eliza to marry George. These aspects of the novel remained the same in the film. While the film starts out with Eliza and George's wedding with an appearance from George's owner, Edward Harris, it mimics the conversation between Shelby and Haley almost identically.

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