Page To Screen: Tracking Hannibal Lecter, from Manhunter to Red Dragon
In Page To Screen, we compare a movie to the book that spawned it. The analysis goes into deep detail about specific plot points—in other words, you’ve been warned.
Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon (1981), Michael Mann’s Manhunter (1986), and Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon (2002)
Something unexpected happened between the publication of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon in 1981 and Brett Ratner’s 2002 adaptation of the book: Dr. Hannibal Lecter became a superstar.
Lecter was introduced in a pivotal but small role in Dragon and upgraded in stature in the sequel The Silence Of The Lambs. He didn’t become a phenomenon until Jonathan Demme’s acclaimed adaptation of that book in 1991. For all of Harris’ skill in creating the monster—a genius killer of erudite, um, taste—much of Lecter’s fame and popularity can be credited to Anthony Hopkins, whose Oscar-winning performance in Lambs …