The Green Mile is just one of those movies that's impossible to not love. This Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan led movie is yet another classic Stephen King adaptation that doesn't at all seem like the kind of novel that Stephen King would write (but if we're being honest it seems like a lot of his best work is the writing that doesn't fall under his traditional horror umbrella).
The Green Mile is a movie that has held up well to the test of time, and it's a great movie that anyone can watch and enjoy over and over again. However, whether you've seen The Green Mile once, ten times, or even a hundred times, there is undoubtedly a few significant details within the film that you've never noticed. So here's ten tidbits about The Green Mile that you likely never noticed, even if those details were right in front of you.
10 The Mouse Invasion
Cinephiles across the world deserve a lot of credit for their incredible skills when it comes to picking up on the smallest of details in the films that they watch. But even the most eagle eyed movie fan can be forgiven for not being able to identify the many different mice who make appearances in The Green Mile. Mr. Jingles is like a character in the movie in his own right, but the production actually had to use a whopping 15 different mice throughout the film, and it took months to train each mouse to do the specific tricks required for filming.
9 The Correctional Officer Uniforms
Usually anachronisms in films are just plain old mistakes, not choices made by the film production intentionally. But The Green Mile made an understandable choice when they decided to put all of the prison guards in uniform despite the fact that prison guards in that era didn't have official uniforms as of yet.
They could have made the film more accurate to the time period, but ironically the viewing audience most likely would have had a hard time buying the characters as guards if they weren't in uniform. Plus, the source material does specifically mention guard uniforms, so at least they were being faithful to the book.
8 Percy's Flexible Age
When a movie studio decides to adapt a novel for the big screen it's pretty common for the production to make adjustments and allowances to the source material in order to make the adaptation better, or at least easier. However, the character of Percy in the book is 21, whereas actor Doug Hutchison was almost twice that age when he played the role. Hutchison was 39 at the time of filming, but he lied to Frank Darabont about his age and said he was in his early 30's. And ultimately he was picture perfect in the role, so aging Percy up a bit was a very small price to pay for one of the creepiest performances of all time.
7 Michael Clarke Duncan's Imposing Stature
John Coffey is obviously supposed to be an absolute mountain of a man, and Michael Clarke Duncan was a pretty stellar choice for that particular requirement (not to mention that he just killed the role in general). But despite his imposing natural size, the movie had to use a lot of creative angles in order to make him look so much bigger than every other actor on screen. Duncan looked huge next to the more average sized actors, but with actors like David Morse (who is 6'4") and James Cromwell (who is 6'6", actually one inch taller than Michael) they had to work to make him look so much larger.
6 John Coffey's Unusual Props
So in that same vein, the film production didn't just use some creative film techniques to make John Coffey look like the largest man who ever lived in comparison to everyone else in the cast. To really sell his size they even made smaller versions of some of the typical props in order to make the already huge Michael Clarke Duncan look even bigger.
They downsized his prison bed a bit to make him look bigger, and they even switched out the electric chair that had been used for most of the movie for a smaller version when it was John's turn up to bat.
5 The Old Sparky Anachronism
As far as movie props and plot devices go, it's hard to find any that would be more important than the electric chair, affectionately nicknamed "Old Sparky", in The Green Mile. It's unarguably one of the most gruesome forms of capital punishment that has been used in any modern time, so it's not surprising that King chose it as his method of execution. However, The Green Mile takes place in Louisiana in 1935, and the state didn't even begin using the electric chair for executions until 1940. Prior to that time they executed the prisoners on death row by hanging.
4 Buckle Up
Making movies that are period pieces are always some kind of tricky business, because on the one hand everyone loves to see something that seems historically accurate, but on the other hand the general audience will have an easier time following and believing the story if they're seeing things that are familiar to them. And this anachronism is far from the most egregious in the world, but it's a historical inaccuracy nonetheless. In The Green Mile the straitjackets that are used on the prisoners are depicted as having buckles, but buckles weren't introduced into straitjackets until the 1980's. Before that they were laced up.
3 Extra Execution Drama
We all know that movies are a dramatized version of reality, and honestly if a lot of things were depicted in a realistic way they wouldn't have the same visual or emotional impact on the audience. And that certainly seems to apply to the realities of dying by electrocution versus what The Green Mile shows death by electric chair to be like. When the death row inmates are actually being put to death by Old Sparky, their reactions are very dramatic screams and convulsions, but in reality all of the muscles in the body contract and people can't even open their mouths when being executed by electricity.
2 Weapons Check
The Green Mile doesn't seem to depict the standard operating procedures of prison guards very well. Not only would they not have been dressed in the uniforms that we see in the film, they wouldn't have been outfitted with weapons inside of the prison either. Obviously police and many other law enforcement officers carry weapons, but prison guards do not because the risk of prison inmates being able to get a hold of the gun is too high. At best the guards might carry weapons outside of the prison, but they typically carry non-lethal weapons when they're inside and close to the prison inmates.
1 An Unsegregated Prison?
You'd think that if prisoners are literally set to be killed by the American government then allowing black prisoners and white prisoners to cohabit wouldn't be too much to ask, but even that was a step too far for the prison system in 1930's Louisiana. Obviously this is one anachronism that any fan of The Green Mile is more than happy to overlook, since the mix of black and white characters actually genuinely adds to the story. And although we all know about America's dark history when it comes to race it's still a shame that early 20th century Louisiana couldn't be the bastion of racial equality that the American south is today.