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Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay Paperback – December 27, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins. She lives in Seattle.

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Diana Ossana has written two novels, more than a dozen screenplays and numerous essays.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743294165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294164
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little volume contains Annie Proulx's original short story version of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN as it appeared in The New Yorker in 1997 along with the screenplay to Ang Lee's film by Larry McMurtry (The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment) and Diana Ossana. The screenwriters retained much of the spareness, tension, and overt and threatened violence of the original story. They even incorporate much of Proulx's unfilmable descriptions in between the characters' speeches (perhaps as cues for method actors). The biggest change from story to screen seems to be the expanded roles of the women in the men's lives--the wives, girlfriends (created from whole cloth), and Ennis's daughter, Alma Jr. This seems justified, given that the story takes place over twenty years, a period in which both main characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, carried out a spotty love affair but constructed their public lives according to more conventional mores. Ennis's love of his daughters is, we feel, genuine and not a substitution or consolation prize. And the fact that she can see her father's loneliness only adds to the pathos of his situation.

Each writer contributes an essay about their experience bringing this story to the big screen. Proulx's "Getting Movied" was especially thoughtful and generous. The volume would have been nicely served, however, had Ang Lee contributed an Introduction. If you're a movie credits geek, this book concludes with the entire closing credits, including the sheep wrangler and bear trainer. Also includes 8 pages of black and white photos from the film.

A nice souvenir for anyone who loves the movie and wants to study it more closely.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both the short story and screenplay are likely to move you to tears, make you feel like somebody's pulling your guts out hand over hand a yard at a time, as Annie Proulx writes of Ennis. They can also make you treasure love more. Proulx's prose is pure poetry. The screenplay is a terrific read and a faithful adaptation and expansion. It's fascinating to have them side by side, to see how certain characters and events were fleshed out... how, for example a single sentence (about a terrible misunderstanding of Jack's, for those who know the story) became a tear-jerking three-page sequence of scenes. The story, script and movie all add depth to each other, like three tellings of the same tale that emphasize different shades. If you're interested in delving deeper into the lives and loves of these characters and the starkly beautiful honesty of this world, buy this book. In addition to the story and script, the book includes three eloquent essays by Proulx and each of the screenwriters, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. These offer a good deal of insight and color to the story and whole development process, from Proulx's germ of an idea for a short story to the screenwriters shepherding the project for years, to each of their reactions to the final film. Fascinating and powerful. Strongly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Ang Lee's powerfully moving cinematic translation of Annie Proulx's masterful short story, "Brokeback Mountain", is obviously turning into a cultural phenomenon. So much so that not only is there the inevitable movie tie-in book (actually the original short story bound in a new softcover with the movie poster), but there is also a much-deserved resurgence in sales for her 2000 short story collection, "Close Range", which provides the broader context for "Brokeback Mountain" (it concludes the book). With the increasing success of the film in its smartly planned roll-out, we now have the story-to-screenplay tome. This would seem like overkill were it not for the fact that Proulx's original story is a remarkable piece of sparingly written fiction and that Lee's film, thanks to screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, is a wondrously faithful translation of her vision.

Through a series of narrative ellipses, Proulx presents a palpable love story about two ranch hands, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, who meet and become obsessed with one another. First published in the New Yorker in 1997 and greeted with much acclaim, the story is less about coming to terms about the characters' sexual proclivities and more about their inability to act upon those heretofore untapped emotions toward a greater happiness. Even though both men marry and have children, neither can fully acknowledge the love they feel toward each other because of the steep price that their love carries and they can only express themselves privately for more than twenty years. Suffice it to say the story is stunning in its preciseness and evocation of the contemporary West, but on first read, it hardly beckons a screen treatment.
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Format: Paperback
Included in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: STORY TO SCREENPLAY are the original story by Annie Proulx and the screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. Additionally and most importantly there are essays by Proulx, McMurtry and Ossana on how both the story and the screenplay came about. All that is missing, unfortunately, are comments by Ang Lee that would have been helpful indeed.

If you are interested in seeing how the movie was changed from the original story, you can follow both texts, should that meet your fancy. I for one am not inclined to read screenplays. I'd much rather take my chances on remembering differences from actually seeing the movie. The screenplay fleshes out the Proulx story and adds more scenes with both Ennis and Jack's families. There is one brilliant change near the end of the film that has to do with Ennis' shirt he had lost. In Proulx's story, when Ennis visits Jack's parents, he finds his dirty, tattered shirt hanging inside one of Jack's shirts in a closet. In the movie version, Ennis takes the shirts and then reverses them, putting Jack's shirt inside his own. (That's when even the bravest members of the movie audience cry.)

By far the most interesting thing about this book is the essay by Ms. Proulx. She comes across as the person we suspected she is from having written such a powerful story. She makes it clear that this story, while a love story, is also about homophobia, Jack's and Ennis' and everybody else's. Rather than being about "two gay cowboys," as urban critics have said, Ms. Proulx states that she is writing about "destructive rural homophobia.
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