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The last sentences of the screenplay for "The Shawshank Redemption" read:

    A MAN is meticulously stripping the old paint and varnish by 
    hand, face hidden with goggles and kerchief mask. 
    Red appears b.g., a distant figure walking out across the  
    sand, wearing his cheap suit and carrying his cheap bag. 
    The man on the boat pauses. Turns slowly around. Red arrives 
    with a smile as wide as the horizon. The other man raises his  
    goggles and pulls down his mask. Andy, of course.

Now, was this the original scene in the initial theatrical movie version and also in the first editions of the VHS video tape? I didn't see the movie in the theaters but I borrowed the tape from Blockbuster when it was released and I have a vague, but perhaps unreliable, memory of viewing that scene of Andy with the goggles and the mask.

The question is - was that scene initially shown that way and later changed to one showing Andy without any goggles or mask?

  • 1
    Didn't see the original versions, but I don't think they'd change that for subsequent ones. Don't think they felt the need to hide the face of an actor when we'd pretty much know it was him. – PoloHoleSet Aug 25 '16 at 21:05
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    No, it is not to hide the face from us, but for Andy to either hide his face from being seen by the police or whoever, or just wearing a face mask and work goggles when he was working. – whirlaway Aug 25 '16 at 21:09
  • Probably to show, he was working on his boat, and was covering himself – war_Hero Aug 30 '16 at 1:37
2

It was obviously a creative decision come to by the director, the actor or both about how the scene was going to play.

Screenplays rarely reflect the visual action that takes place upon the screen. Most scenes require multiple takes and decisions are often made either during those takes (or beforehand) to change scenes from what is either in the screenplay or the shooting script. This happens so often that it is often better for film fans to watch the film shortly after reading the screenplay simply to see where the film has diverged from the written material.

In the clip referenced below, it is clear that it is warm in the Mexico location where the final scenes were filmed. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wearing shorts and a cutoff sleeve shirt; and neither he nor Red (Morgan Freeman) are shown exhaling steam, indicating that the temperatures were at least in the mid 60s. As such, the simple acts of wearing goggles and a mask may have be discomforting to Robbins as the scene may have had as many as a dozen or more takes to get the lighting and blocking "just right."

Additionally, time in films is money. Every take that could have been "flubbed" by the mask and the goggle removal being performed poorly or causing Robbins to struggle, would mean that the scene would be reshot, risking that a few seconds of the film (which also may not have made final edit) would cost the studio additional money. Since the film was NOT a box office success, it now seems somewhat prescient that many extras from the screenplay and the source novel were left out of the final production.

So I would submit that the minor detail of the character's dress changing from the screenplay to the final edited film was more of a comfort or practical decision made by the director or the actor (or again, both) than anything else. These are common in films and are only noticed by film fans reading the script and perhaps those who filmed the feature itself and are aware of the changes made while trying to create the finished product.

Reference:

  • So what would the answer to the actual question be then? That it was not changed from the theatrical version and has always been filmed that way? – Napoleon Wilson Dec 1 '16 at 13:21
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    I answered the "actual question." Screenplays differ from what is filmed and edited and this is an example of that. There is no "original version"; there was simply a written scene in the screenplay that was changed during filming or editing. – Mistah Mix Dec 1 '16 at 13:26
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    Okay, that's what I wanted to know, as I didn't see this explicitly adressed in the answer. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 1 '16 at 13:43

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