A comparative analysis and ethnic interpretation of Lost horizon in three different media : the book of fiction, the radio and motion picture production

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Lu, Jessica Ching-Wen
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Thesis (M.A.)
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Adapting stories for media is a difficult problem. Much creative ability is needed since fiction frequently contains very little usable dialogue and much description. Similarly, the author of a radio drama or motion picture film who prepares the original work for broadcast or production deserves much credit as the adaptor because he has much work to contribute in translating the story into an aural, or visual format suitable for his medium. At times (1) he needs to simplify the plot or eliminate subplots; (2) certain music or sound effects may be needed to provide descriptive effect; (3) new dialogue may be added to assist or clarify the idea.The original author initiates the plotform, substantiates the characters, develops the locale, and ensures that the rising action or resolution of the idea sustains interest to the end. The adaptation has many highly articulated qualifications also. He must learn to take another author's work without seriously jeopardizing the original, and must translate the work so that it will be understood by the intended audience through the media of radio, television, or motion picture.ObjectiveThere are times when the adaptor may attempt to-introduce his own ideas into the translation in order that the audience seemingly comprehend--but in so doing, a certain amount of authenticity, or the lack thereof, may be introduced. This study intends to interpret the story form from an Oriental viewpoint through research on an Occidental publication. An ethnic interpretation will be gained from this study since Hilton's story, which is part real and part fantasy, is also somewhat similar to a Chinese poet's lyrics called "Peach-Blossom Legend." The legend may assist with Hilton's story analysis.Methodology(1) Read James Hilton's Lost Horizon which represents his ideas concerning a fictional place called "Shangri-La."(2) Listen to the Lux Radio Theatre production of Lost Horizon in order to discover how the characterization, authenticity and technology are derived through this aural presentation.(3) Watch and listen to the Frank: Capra's version of Lost Horizon to discover how the characterization, authenticity and technology are derived from an aural-visual presentation.(4) Compare the above three media.(5) Examine the similarities and differences in the interpretation of the basic story.