The second incident I have chosen is Billy’s talk on kes. This comes before the P. E scene in the book but after in the film. I have chosen this incident as it’s about the only time when you hear Billy talking for a long period. It shows the encouragement and attention Billy gets from Mr Farthing and other pupils who actually take interest in Billy and what he has to say. The book starts off with Mr Farthing talking about fact and fiction, he then asks Billy for a fact about himself. At first Billy claims “I don’t know any sir”.
This shows Billy lacks confidence in school because he tries to take the easy way out. Mr Farthing eventually gets him talking by asking lots of questions. Billy’s answers to the questions gradually got longer. This shows that if Billy is paid a bit of attention and given a chance he can be quite interesting and confident. This scene in the film starts with the camera focusing on Billy Mcdowel and another pupil coming into the lesson late after being caned. You can hear Mr Farthings voice talking about fact or fiction.
The camera cuts to a medium shot of Billy’s head and shows he’s not listening. Mr Farthing tells him off and unlike Sugden simply reprimands Billy while making him stand. The shot draws your attention to Billy and makes you feel sorry for him as once again he’s being put down. The camera is focused on Casper as Mr Farthing asks Billy questions, this created tension as you waited for him to answer. The tension felt does not come over in the book. The camera then moves around the class and shows the pupils faces looking totally board.
I think this shot was important because it creates pity as only Mr Farthing is listening to Billy and no one seems to show any interest in him unless he’s getting into trouble of yelled at. The film shows that as more questions are asked, Billy answers freely with detail and begins using technical words such as Jesses and Mr Farthing gets him to the front of the class and asks him to spell the word on the blackboard. He encourages Billy by calling him an expert. The camera cuts back to the pupils, who now look interested.
This is not apparent in the book but is important, as it’s one of the only times where Billy is shown a genuine interest. When Billy finishes talking he receives a round of applause. The book says Billy “blushed”. This makes you feel very happy and sorry, as he was embarrassed because he’s never been shown that much attention. The third and final incident I have chosen is when Billy goes to see the youth employment officer. It starts off with Billy sitting in a waiting room on his own, a mother and her son enter but don’t make much conversation with Billy.
The youth employment officer is not expecting Billy but another lad as Billy ‘s appointment was scheduled for an earlier time but he never turned up. When Billy is asked about the future he claims he doesn’t know what to do and that he has no real interest or hobbies. Billy doesn’t seem interested and is eager to get out. I have chosen this incident as it shows how the education system has let Billy down. He is not offered any form of support or encouragement from anyone, and sympathy is created knowing that Billy has no hope in the future.
In the book there are people already sitting in the waiting room when Billy goes in, but the film starts off with a central shot of Billy alone in a dim room. The film worked best as it creates sympathy by making Billy look small, frail and isolated and the dark colours created a depressing mood. After seeing the employment officer the camera focuses on Billy walking along a dark and lonely corridor, it almost looks as if he’s swallowed as the shot gets smaller and smaller. You hear Billy getting yelled at which creates shock and makes you feel sorry for him. This scene was not apparent in the book.
The book gives lots of short sentences of speech between Billy and the employment officer, who’s expecting Walker and not Billy and then goes on to explain that Billy is late which makes you feel sorry for him because it seems he can’t do anything right. Throughout this scene in the film alternate over shoulder shorts of each character are used showing one looking at the other. The employment officer seems to do most of the talking and struggles to get anything out of Billy, it shows that Billy is not the cleverest of people, and sympathy is created as you feel that Billy’s been let down by everyone constantly.
In both book and film when the employment officer suggests going down the pit Billy’s his immediate reaction is “I’m not gin down t’ pit ” Billy stands up and asks the employment officer if he can go? The camera focuses on the employment officer showing the reaction of disgust on his face. “What’s the matter with you lad? Sit down, I haven’t finished yet” and expressed the feeling of Billy shutting himself off as the employment officers words went over his head.
I think both book and film portrayed its characters well and created lots of sympathy for Billy in different ways, the detailed descriptions help you to build images and absorb its contents more so than watching a film scene for a few seconds and missing important details. For example reading the part about Furs Hill allows you to compare Billy’s poor living conditions and things seem worse than the film portrayed. The film was easy to understand and changed some of the images already built when reading the book.
I found that the added scene of Sugden doing a warm-up very funny, it enhanced his character by showing just how full of himself him he really was. The camera work in the film revealed the facial expressions of the characters and brought out the emotions felt whilst reading the book perfectly. For instance when kes dies you can see the sadness on Billy’s face this makes you feel engulfed with sorrow and extremely sympathetic towards him creating a real lump in the throat moment. The novel has been adapted wonderfully using different techniques in different ways allowing both book lover and film buff to converse.