Saturday, January 9, 2010

Manhunter analysis - part 81: Comparison with 'Red Dragon'; more on the paintings


[Image at left from the Wikipedia 'Red Dragon (film)' page; "Red Dragon movie",[a] licensed under fair use via Wikipedia.]

Let us compare Manhunter with the Red Dragon film. Red Dragon is a 2002 thriller film based on Thomas Harris's novel of the same name and featuring psychiatrist and serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It is a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs.

The film was directed by Brett Ratner and written for the screen by Ted Tally, who also wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs. It stars Edward Norton as FBI agent Will Graham and Anthony Hopkins as Lecter, a role he had, by then, played twice before in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.

Ralph Fiennes, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Mary-Louise Parker, Emily Watson and Harvey Keitel are also featured.[b]

A list of differences between Red Dragon and Manhunter appears below.

1. In Red Dragon, Hannibal's last name is spelled 'Lecter', whereas it is spelled 'Lecktor' in Manhunter. Also, 'Dolarhyde' is used instead of 'Dollarhyde'. Both of the spellings in Red Dragon are in keeping with those used in the original novel.

2. In Red Dragon, a 'back-story' to Lecter's imprisonment and Graham's retirement is provided at the beginning of the movie: In his townhouse in Baltimore, Maryland, psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) hosts a dinner party (above left screencap), where his guests might well be dining on portions of a man they knew. Lecter is later visited by Will Graham (Norton), a gifted, young FBI agent, with whom he has been working on creating a psychological profile of a serial killer. Edible body parts of the victims, such as the kidneys and liver, were removed from the bodies, leading Graham to believe that the killer could be a cannibal. During the consultation and brainstorming session, Graham discovers evidence implicating Dr. Lecter in the murders. Lecter attacks him (above right screencap), almost disemboweling Graham before being subdued.

Lecter is sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane while Graham, severely traumatized by the experience, retires from the FBI.[c]

3. In Red Dragon, the events that take place after Graham has his revelation about how Dolarhyde selects his victims, through the end of the movie, differ from those in Manhunter and are as follows:

Dolarhyde (played by Fiennes) goes to see Reba (Watson) and finds her with a coworker, Ralph Mandy (Frank Whaley), a sleazy man whom she actually dislikes. Jealous and enraged, Dolarhyde kills Mandy, kidnaps Reba and, having taken her to his house, sets it on fire. He finds himself unable to shoot her, so Dolarhyde turns his shotgun on himself and fires. Reba, hearing the clock chime and remembering how many steps are from there to the front door, is able to escape as the police show up and the house explodes (below left screencap).

Graham is given Dolarhyde's scrapbook, saved from the wreckage of the house, which details the killer's tragic childhood -- the verbal abuse he suffered from a grandmother (voice of Ellen Burstyn) -- and obsession with murder. Graham feels pity for Dolarhyde; he was made a monster, not born one.

However, it turns out Dolarhyde staged his own death by leaving behind the body of Mandy. He turns up at Graham's home in Florida, where he threatens Graham's son with a piece of broken glass (below right screencap). To save the boy, Graham slings insults at his son that are reminiscent of the ones Dolarhyde's grandmother had used against him. Dolarhyde attacks Graham as the boy flees to safety. Both men are severely wounded in a shootout which Graham's wife, Molly (Parker), ends by shooting and killing Dolarhyde.

After recovering, Graham receives a letter from the incarcerated Lecter, which bids him well and hopes that he isn't "too ugly." Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) then informs Lecter that there is a young woman from the FBI, waiting to speak with him. Lecter looks up, then asks, "What is her name?"[d]

4. In Red Dragon, the Grahams' son is named Josh instead of Kevin. Molly is committing incest with Josh, as suggested by the fact that she's shown holding him in an inappropriately intimate manner in one scene (see the left-hand screencap below).

Below left: Molly and Josh Graham (from Red Dragon). Below right: Mrs. Leeds represents the Whore of Babylon in Red Dragon (shown), just as she does in Manhunter.

5. In Red Dragon, the epithet "Tooth Fairy" is not used in the Atlanta police lecture. Just after the lecture, however, it is used by Lounds when he confronts Graham; then soon after this, it is used by both Graham and Crawford in conversation. The point is that the term is being freely used, so Lecter and Dolarhyde must have both known about it from the press.

That Dolarhyde knows about the name 'Tooth Fairy', is evident when we are shown a newspaper clipping using that name in his scrapbook.

6. In Red Dragon, Lecter gets Graham's address from Bloom's office as 'P.O. Box 3680, Marathon, Florida'. Then later it is given by Lecter in his book code as 'Graham home, Marathon, Florida'.

7. In Red Dragon, the tissue note text is somewhat different than that in Manhunter, and it is lengthier. It is still the case that Lecter composed the top part of the note and Dolarhyde the bottom portion, as in Manhunter. The note is found in Lecter's cell by a cleaning man, having been rolled up in a roll of toilet paper. Lecter, who is being kept in another room during a supposed power outage, notices a couple of fingers of a rubber glove sticking out of the cleaning man's back pocket (see screencap at left) while this man is walking down the corridor after having placed the note back in the roll of toilet tissue (after it has been examined by the investigators). The cleaning man used rubber gloves to handle the note while placing it back in Lecter's cell. The point is that just as in Manhunter, Lecter wanted the note to be found, and the fact that he's seen a portion of the glove sticking out of the cleaning man's pocket, is our indication that he knows it has been found.

The indication we're given that Lecter wants Will to think the thoughts expressed in the note are his (Will's) own thoughts, is when the voiceover for the reading of the note is done such that Graham's voice is used at the beginning, and then after a few moments, Dolarhyde's voice comes in to continue in place of Graham's.

8. Whereas in Manhunter, Graham makes only one visit to Lecter, in Red Dragon he makes several visits.

9. In Red Dragon, the Leeds were killed in the month of March, and the Jacobis in February, so there is no issue of a 'hunter's moon'.

10. In Red Dragon, Lecter's 'book code' specifies many more verses than does the one in Manhunter.

11. Things are done differently with the bite marks, teeth cast, and Dolarhyde's false teeth in Red Dragon, than they are in Manhunter. In Red Dragon, during the Atlanta police lecture, it is stated that the cast indicates a "degree of crookedness and a groove on the central incisor, making the bite unique." Later in the movie, when we're shown the false teeth that Dolarhyde uses to bite his victims (which were his grandmother's teeth while she was alive), they match this description (see above screencaps; the groove on the central incisor is pointed to by the orange arrow in the left-hand screencap). Also, when one of the FBI investigators (Beverly) overlays the tissue note impression on the cast, there is a match.

Top left: In Red Dragon, the tissue note is found in two pieces, just as in Manhunter. Top right: The teeth marks at the bottom of the note match the cast done of the bite marks found on Mrs. Leeds. Above left: The hair found on the note is dark, and is too long to be an arm hair. Above right: Note that the cleaning man has dark hair of a length which indicates that the hair on the note could have come from himself. Also note that he is wearing rubber gloves; thus the rubber glove fingertips later sticking out of his back pocket, as discussed above.

12. As mentioned above, in Red Dragon there is a match between the teeth cast, and the bite marks on the tissue note. The hair found on the note, which is too long to be an arm hair, as stated above, looks like it could have come from Dolarhyde's head (see screencap at left), but it also looks like it could have come from the cleaning man's head (as indicated above).

13. In Red Dragon, Beverly and Jimmy are billed by their first names only, neither has darkish skin, and there is no Brian Zeller character, so it seems we do not have the representation of the sons of Noah (Shem and Japheth) in Red Dragon.

14. In Red Dragon, Dollarhyhde's blood type is determined by both saliva and semen samples, instead of only by a saliva sample as is the case in Manhunter.

15. The William Blake Great Red Dragon paintings are used differently in Red Dragon than they are in Manhunter.

The painting at above left, which is cataloged in the Brooklyn Museum (in New York) as The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, is the only one we are shown in the Red Dragon movie, and it is the only one referred to in the film as well. [Image from the Wikipedia 'The Great Red Dragon Paintings' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.] It depicts the woman and the dragon from the biblical book of Revelation, verses 12:1-4. Verses 3 and 4 allude to Satan's first downfall, in which he is 'kicked out' of heaven. This is the painting which is shown in Dolarhyde's scrapbook in Red Dragon (top right screencap). This painting is listed elsewhere as The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun. Furthermore, its alternate name is "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Rays of the Sun." In Red Dragon, Dolarhyde visits the Brooklyn Museum, looks at the painting (lower right screencap above), and then tears it out of its binder (below left) and eats it (below right). On the Red Dragon "Collector's Edition" DVD, Red Dragon screenwriter Ted Tally interprets this to mean that Dolarhyde is trying to take away the power of the dragon in his head.

Above left and right: When Will Graham visits a library in Red Dragon, the painting discussed above is the one he sees (in a book), listed as "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun" and accompanied by text which implies that the woman is pregnant and which includes the words, "According to tradition, the dragon is worldly power and the woman Israel, oppressed in her innocence by the wicked" (click right-hand image to enlarge).

The painting at left is listed on website of the National Gallery of Art (in Washington, D.C.) as The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun. [Image from the Wikipedia 'The Great Red Dragon Paintings' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.] It has inscribed across the top, "The Devil is Come Down." The painting is cataloged (in the National Gallery of Art) as The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun: "the Devil is come down", and it refers to Revelation 12: 12-17. Ostensibly, it depicts the same woman as the yellow painting above; the dragon represents Satan after his second downfall, in which he is banished from heaven (as described in Revelation 12:7-10). This is the only painting we are shown in Manhunter (when it is displayed to Freddy Lounds, as shown in the above screencap), but Dollarhyde refers to it as "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Rays of the Sun", which as we observed, is an alternate name for the other painting above (the yellow painting).

a. Poster for Red Dragon: The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Universal / MGM, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.
b. Wikipedia, 'Red Dragon (film)'. Web, n.d. URL =
c. Ibid.
d. Ibid.

[UPDATE: The analysis of Manhunter has been extended, in the 'unified analysis' of the first three Lecter movies.]


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