Obviously having seen the classic movie many times, I read Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural” for insight into the character Roy Hobbs – what went on in his head, his struggles and victories.
Without giving away any spoilers, the book and the movie are worlds apart. The movie was Hollywood-ized and made for golden boy Robert Redford. The book is like life: harsh, brutal and tragic.
The Roy Hobbs of the book is no Redford; he is a human being. The book tells often of his anguishes, jealosy and frequent sexual impulses.
The changes made to the movie are what make the movie amazing.
The book, while drastically different, still offers a realistic perspective; sort of an “alternate ending” as it were, for those of us now immersed in the culture of DVD extras.
But the backbone of “The Natural”, whether in print or cinematically, is the talent of a man who is cut down at his apex by a maniac and battles back to prominence after years of floundering.
Seeing it all from this perspective completes the puzzle.