Does anyone know whether there has ever been a screen adaptation of this short gem?
The Ray Bradbury Theater: Season 3, Episode 1
The Dwarf (7 Jul. 1989)
...which, by the way, Ray thought was awful. His least favourite episode.
It happens to be one of my favourite stories, so I'm guessing Ray didn't do the adaptation and it was botched. Maybe time it was done properly.
Who would need to be contacted to negotiate a new adaptation? Agent or publisher? Would you know a name? Just flying a kite at this point, but you never know!
Actually, Ray DID do the adaptation, but the episode was filmed in New Zealand (as a lot of RBT episodes were at the time) and although Ray was an executive producer on the show and actively engaged in quality control, the review process wasn't quick enough to catch the issues that he had with the episode. (These days, a producer on another continent can be kept in the loop via internet video. Back in those days, the producers communicated by phone and fax, and Ray was sent tapes to view.)
Somewhere I have Ray's comments on "The Dwarf" from an interview. I'll see if I can find them.
To make a film from a Bradbury story, best to contact Bradbury's agent, Don Congdon Associates. Google them and you will find contact details on their website.
Interestingly enough, this is one of my favorite "Ray Bradbury Theater" adaptations.
I have just watched the episode from your link Phil, thank you. I don't believe the RBT series ever aired in the UK - I'm sure I would have noticed.
I would be fascinated to hear Ray's comments on this if you can find them. At the risk of making a fool of myself, here are mine.
I thought the actors who played Amy & Ralph did a pretty good job of portraying their characters in a very limited time and with limited lines. I thought the dwarf did ok until the final scene, when his shock at his image did not convince me. Somehow he did not generate the empathy I expected throughout, but I think he was handicapped by two things - harsh editing to get it down to 23 minutes to fit the slot, and very inadequate visuals from the mirrors. I was disappointed with his parading shown before the original mirror. Where was all the strutting and posing Ray described, and the little dance? That's where the empathy should have been built, to make you really care.
And the mirrors themselves should have had a starring role, creating weird and fantastic distortions, an insanely bent kaleidoscope. The visual potential was enormous and was wasted.
I would like to see it done without the rush, even filling out the characters a little more, getting more background on Mr. Bigelow, but I guess that would be getting into the realms of new writing, which is a whole bigger ball game.
I bet Ray's criticisms bear no relationship to mine. Would love to know how he would have changed it.
RBT did air in the UK, but only sporadically. The first few episodes played on ITV back in the 80s (but not in all regions). For a while, the series was co-produced by Granada TV, but these episodes were aired in the UK under a different title (again, not in all regions). In the 90s and beyond, episodes have appeared on Sky One, the Sci-Fi channel and (if I recall correctly) the Horror channel.
The story of the Granada co-production is on my website, here.
I found a brief version of Ray's comments in STARLOG magazine (issue 153, April 1990). He describes the episode as a "clinker", and adds "They didn't prove how tall he looked to himself in the mirror in the maze."
I may have misremembered how much Ray disliked the episode, though, as the same article says that the episode that really annoyed him was "On the Orient, North". However, I'm sure I have seen other disparaging comments about "The Dwarf".
I have also seen production correspondence from the making of the episode which suggests that the mirror sequences were tinkered with in post-production to try to get the right effect, and probably to compensate for the badly-shot (i.e. badly directed) original footage. A classic example of the expression, "We'll fix it in post", which is nearly always impossible.
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