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Novel and film differences

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Unlike the book, the 1969 movie doesn’t introduce Mattie as an old woman telling a story of her childhood, but instead begins and ends in 1880, when Mattie is 14 years old. Also, in the book, Mattie remains the central character throughout; in the movie, Mattie starts out as the main character, but Rooster Cogburn gets an equal share of the limelight once his character is introduced. The film also downplays the novel's Biblical tone and adds a hint of romance between Mattie and La Boeuf. La Boeuf also does not die in the novel, but survives his head injury. Another significant difference from author Charles Portis' original tale is that Mattie does not have her arm amputated as a result of the rattlesnake attack, in contrast to the final scene in the film where Kim Darby is seen with only a sling on her arm--indicating that she is recovering from the snake bites and intact physically. The novel's conclusion makes the reader aware that the story has been recounted by Mattie as an elderly, one-armed woman who never married.Also, the film's Colorado location and mountain scenery is in sharp contrast to the script's references to place names in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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