Lamb to the Slaughter is a very intriguing story and between the film and short story, we get two different adaptations fo the same story. The film is very different compared to the short story and vice versa, the short story being more captivating and much more interesting overall when compared to the movie, although one of the components that stays constant between the two adaptations being the writer, Roald Dahl. The film begins with one of the characters, Patrick being killed meanwhile the short story begins prior to Patrick’s’ death. This timing difference of Patrick’s death between the film and short story carries a heavy influence over how the reader or viewer perceives Mary’s character, and how she’s seen overall throughout either the film or short story. The film throws the viewer straight into the story while the story allows everything to unfold naturally and allows the reader to actually step into the story itself.
In the movie, we as viewers are allowed to see what Mary’s character tells Patrick’s character while in the written work, we as the reader aren’t allowed to see or hear this conversation. Without the knowledge of this exchange, the story develops rather than leaving anything to the imagination.
The short story starts out with Mary’s character awaiting Patrick’s character as they are married and Patrick’s return from work is anticipated in this scene. Whereas the movie starts out with Patrick’s dead body lying on the ground, proving no context or background at all to Patrick’s character, Mary’s character, or their relationship at all. Without this kind of insight or information at all the are scenes the viewer may not fully understand or come to understand much later, like the scene where the officers are convinced by Mary’s character to tamper with the evidence they have found and gathered.
The short story allows the reader to invest emotionally into characters more, primarily Mary’s character, when compared to the film. The short story also gives the reader a chance to feel bad or sympathize with Mary’s character as her plan unfolds. The movie doesn’t really allow the viewer to fully grasp or understand why she’s done what she’s done, or the situation she finds herself in. This also prevents the reader from fully understanding or seeing the full perspective of Mary’s character and throws off their ability to fully comprehend everything going on.
Both versions are equally entertaining and fun to watch or read, but personally the short story towers above the movie when compared in my opinion, I may not understand why certain changes were made but appreciate these works by Roald Dahl nonetheless.