Sunday, October 23, 2011

Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Icabod Crane in the Movie and the Original

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", a short story written by the American author Washington Iriving in 1820, stands in stark contrast to Tim Burton's more modern movie rendition of the American classic, which takes great liberties in bending and reshaping the plot of the original.  Most notably, the modern version of the tale portrays the story's main character, Icabod Crane, in a far different light than Washington Iriving.  In the original, Icabod Crane arrives in the town of Sleepy Hollow as a teacher for the local children, traveling from house to house in the village as a place to live.  Icabod is also described in the original as a lanky, awkward-looking character, and only encounters the horseman having fallen in love with Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a successful local farmer. Irving's story also ends with Icabod demise at the hands of the headless horseman.  By contrast, in the Tim Burton rendition, Icabod Crane (Johnny Depp) presents himself more as a scientist, inventor, and investigator than as a school teacher, and comes to the town in the hope of solving the mystery of the headless horseman.  Leading a series of detective like adventures, Icabod then begins slowly to piece together the mystery until the very last minute, only to save the day and end the story a hero.  Indeed, Tim Burton's interpretation of Icabod's character resembles more Sherlock Homes than the skinny, unprepossessing school teacher Irving had envisioned nearly two centuries before.

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