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Ten Facts About The Film That Will Make You Like It Even More

How many of these little-know facts are you aware of?



10. Watch closely: It was Tim Robbins’ idea for Andy Dufresne to turn up the volume knob on the record player, after Norton insists that he turn it off.

9. Listen carefully: It was Bob Gunton’s idea for Norton to whistle, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” as he walked out of his office, on the night Andy escaped.

8. Watch closely: When Norton discovers that Andy has been hiding a rock hammer in the pages of his Bible, the chapter title on the adjoining page is, “Exodus.”

7. Look carefully: On many of the paintings and artworks that appear in the background inside Norton's office, the library, and Andy's cell, the images include blue water, the water’s edge, and boats, a subtle foreshadowing of Andy's dream of a "living out the rest of his days in a warm place with no memory."


6. Listen carefully: During the Mozart aria from “The Marriage of Figaro” that Andy plays over the loudspeakers for his fellow inmates, the “two Italian ladies” in the opera are singing about “a gentle breeze through pine trees.” They’re composing a letter, in an attempt to expose the infidelity of the main character in the opera. Some people connect that with Andy’s wife’s infidelity, and his apparent familiarity with the song. The version of the duet you hear in the film, sung by sopranos Edith Mathis, who is of Swiss descent, and Gundula Janowitz, who is of Austrian descent, was released in 1968. Known in the opera world as the best version of the song ever recorded, this cut does not appear on the three-record set that Andy plays over the loudspeakers in the film. That version was released in 1951. Interestingly, both Mathis and Janowitz are still alive.

5. Watch closely: As was the case with many movie stars, all three actresses who appear on the posters in Andy’s cell were born with different names. Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cancino, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Mortenson, and Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada.

4. Listen carefully: As Andy’s bus arrives, the musical score includes a somber, four-note strings theme that is reprised throughout the film, called “Shawshank Theme.” However, during Andy’s climactic crawl to freedom, we hear a twist on that same four-note theme, which composer Thomas Newman turns from somber to triumphant, adding brass and a rising crescendo over Andy's jouous, rain-soaked escape.

3. Listen carefully: When Red sees the oak tree for the very first time, in the musical score we hear the long notes of a harmonica, a reference to Andy’s comments about how music can help set you free, and the harmonica Red received from Andy. 2. Watch closely: The themes of rocks and stones as the trappings of imprisonment echo over and over again throughout the film. The prison walls are imposing and made of impenetrable stones. Andy is a rock hound. He says you need music inside a prison so you don't forget -- that there are places in the world that aren't made of stone, that there's something inside you that they can't get to, that they can't touch: hope.


1. Watch closely; Red Redding is really the one who is redeemed: he is The Shawshank Redemption. When Andy arrives, Red's been there 10 years.


"Same shit, different day."


As he progresses through the film, he becomes more and more resigned to living out the rest of his days there.


"Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It has no use on the inside. Better get used to that."


Even when he is paroled, he wants back in. But only one thing stopped him: the promise he made to Andy. He finds the letter, and is filled with hope.


"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head."


We know Red has been redeemed with that line alone. The reunion on the beach is all gravy. Andy always had hope. By giving it to Red, Andy redeemed him.

BONUS FACTS!. When the Ohio State Reformatory was shut down in 1990, Eve Lapolla was the Director of the Ohio State Film Commission. Then in 1992, Eve received a copy of Mr Darabont’s screenplay, and immediately thought, “The reformatory in Mansfield would be a perfect place to shoot this movie.” She met Mr Darabont at a film maker’s convention in LA later that year, and showed him photos of the Gothic prison, and the rest is history. In addition, Ms Lapolla is also credited with helping save the building from near-certain demolition. She called the governor’s office and prevented the building from facing the wrecking ball, which had been scheduled to arrive on site the same day principal photography was to begin on the movie. Eve is not only the first person to envision OSR as Shawshank State Prison, she’s also the one most responsible for saving the building from being torn down. Thanks, Eve!

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