Shawshank Redemption: How Allen Greene became an Inspiration to Redeem Story Telling in Hollywood

Allen Greene movie, Allen Greene

Back in 1994, when the entire film industry comprising the big wigs, banners, and bandwagoners in the west was besotted with Aliens, Predators, the Jurassic and Triassic era, Assassin Robots from the future, and all other CGI bloated movies, there was one Frank Darabont who shoveled his way from the heaped landfill of trashy science fiction, and created the Moussaieff Red of story-telling with a minimal cast and exquisite screenplay.

Shawshank Redemption is a masterpiece from the eye view of Frank Darabont, with an engrossing story based on a short narrative by Stephen King! The story is inspired or rather derived and rewritten into a movie script and narrative, from Stephen King’s novella ‘Different Seasons’.

One narrative from the four novellas comprising the 1982 collection Different Seasons compilation of King’s short stories, ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’ was the story that caught the sparkle of thrice-nominated for Academy Award, Frank Darabont.

Shawshank Redemption has been a riveting and awe-inspiring tale of one Andy Dufresne, and his escape from the clutches of Hell, where he had been wrongly framed into. Evidently, Tim Robbins seemingly has had poured his soul into the character of Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption. His most prominent and industry-lauded portrayal of a banker, simple and home-loving by his nature and beliefs, is tried for the manslaughter of his wife and her paramour. It is in the lack of evidence supporting his claims to innocence, that Andy Dufresne is life sentenced to the State Penitentiary of Shawshank.

In spite of his claims to innocence of the crime, Andy is deemed guilty of the crime by circumstantial evidence, thereby being sentenced to life imprisonment for his remainder course of life into the prison at Shawshank. Over a period of 20 years, his journey in the hellhole, begins with him befriending one Ellis “Red’ Redding, which was played by revered Morgan Freeman. The two characters pass the days in the prison as scheduled by the prison duties, along with Andy being assigned by the prison warden as his right-hand man, managing his illegal money laundering operation from within the Shawshank prison. 

Who is Allen Greene | Demystifying Allen Greene, a Real Person!

With the brief introduction to the premise of the entire story so far, let us look into the background history and the makings of this great movie, and the people behind it. Frank Darabont was introduced by Allen Greene into the directorial adventures of movie making at Castle Rock Entertainment, quite few years before Darabont began his work on Shawshank Redemption. With Shawshank Redemption, Allen Greene got Frank Darabont his big great break into the limelight of showbiz at Hollywood!

Initially, Allen Greene was an acquaintance to Frank Darabont, who later on became his dear, close friend, and also his literary agent in titles under his directorial and production banner. Allen and Frank somehow got hold of the Stephen King’s Novella, from which the “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” short story caught their creative fancy, one day. Both began their work on the thin story line and the actual premise of a wrongly convicted, innocent husband.

Greene had then been working hard for obtaining movie production rights from the copyright holders. Unbelievably, all through the time Shawshank Redemption was being produced and directed over several months, just a month before the movie’s big screening Allen Greene was suffering from complications from AIDS. Unfortunately, time ran out for Allen before he could see his hard work bear fruit on the big screen, until which he lived through his last breaths and passed away almost a month before the first screening of Shawshank Redemption. 

Allen Greene studied his initial schooling years in Washington, where had was born, grown up, and shaped to be the man he would be, in his later years. Allen Greene was a descendant of the Greene Family in White Hall, Illinois. The North Greene High School in the district and county have been a named after, as a lineage, after the ancestors of Allen Greene’s family. Allen had completed graduation from this school in 1971. His primary interests since his days in school were live action filming, which was very obvious and prominently known by most of his friends and school kids, since he always carried around a movie camera.

Even to his school! Initially, during college, Allen was a strong baseball and basketball player, as a revered athlete for his strong performances on field. Soon after his college graduation, Allen Greene was employed as the Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Mississippi. Soon after, he was given an offer he would definitely love to take up, as the Director at the University of Buffalo! Yes, Allen Greene was a real person, and an important one in the life of Frank Darabont!

What’s the mystery of the message about Allen Greene shown along with the end credits of Shawshank Redemption?

After a very long period of friendship, support, along with being his literary agent & personal manager, Frank Darabont felt deeply, whilst grieving the death of Allen Greene. Darabont thought of the only way to immortalize Greene, and the absence of Allen in his life, was through introducing Allen Greene to the world audience, whoever would view the movie Shawshank Redemption, would thence, get to know of Allen Greene. The man behind the story, the narrative, and the soon followed success and accolades! Thus, he dedicated Shawshank Redemption movie with a message during the last final few moments of the reel, with the message, “IN MEMORY OF ALLEN GREENE”. 

How Old is Allen Greene Actor Shawshank?

Allen Greene passed away shortly before Shawshank Redemption hit the theatres. Since there are no publicly available records of his birth date, people surmise Allen Greene passed away around his age of mid 40s. 

Why Shawshank Redemption is best movie?

Many viewers of Shawshank Redemption as well as readers of the original “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” story, have wondered as well as sought answers as to why this particular movie, which seemingly is quite a slow and simple narrative, one of the most famous, and revered movies of all time! Let us delve deeper into what catches the attention of those looking for a richly rewarding and engaging drama!

Is The Shawshank Redemption a true story?

A drama with surprising elements of secrets revealed, thriller premises and outcomes, jugular moments filled with laughter, and the artistic methodology of portraying scenic beauty and melancholic manifestations of morose situations.  To begin with, Shawshank Redemption is a story of Hope.

When you begin watching the movie, until Andy Dufresne makes a startling discovery behind his beloved Rita Hayworth’s poster on his cell wall, the narrative depicts the lives of many innocent people having been jailed into the state penitentiary in an unjust manner unlawfully having been framed for a crime they never committed. On the same thought, Andy Dufresne’s character, played by Tim Robbins, has been depicted to be of much calmer and docile man with real values for life, with no malice or ill-thoughts for anyone. As a banker, he is living the life of a simple man who truly loves his wife from the day he had met her.

Unfortunately for Andy Dufresne, he walks in, one evening early from his work, into his home to find the love of his life in bed with another man. Shattered and depressed, Andy leaves his home seeking some moments of solitude to process the events unfolded the moment he stepped into the bedroom of his home.

In those very moments, a petty burglar — Elwood ‘Elmo’ Blatch — breaks in, into Dufresne’s home, to find the wife and her lover in bed. In his malicious intent of robbing the household, Blatch barbarically kills the two philandering lovers on the bed itself, in his twisted understanding of moral justice. During the 2 decades as suffered by Andy Dufresne, he came across many a criminal in the Shawshank State Penitentiary.

One from the heap was a young chap was Tommy Williams. Who, interestingly had spent quite some time in prisons around the country. Once, where he had bumped into an Elwood Blatch, his jail cell roommate for quite some months. Over time, Elwood had quite some habit of boasting about himself, and the crimes he had committed. Many of which, he was never caught for. In this exchange, he inadvertently revealed the murder of Andy Dufresne’s wife and her lover, one night.

The crime for which he never got caught but, the husband got sentenced instead. Upon revealing this information to Andy Dufresne and Ellis Redding, along with few of their fellow friends in the library they had been rebuilding for the prison, Andy rushes out in a tense mood. He became more sure of his innocence, and wrong conviction, for which he approached the warden. Warden then crushed all his dreams and pledges, since Andy was the most smartest jail inmate, he could have ever got into his prison for his managing illegal money laundering during his lifetime! 

Through here, begins the dramatic unfolding of events, which are carefully woven into the script, dialogues, and screenplay of Shawshank Redemption, narrating the struggle of Andy Dufresne and several innocent men who had been wrongly convicted or held back into the prison because of severe prejudicial outlooks and racism across the country prevalent since decades. Andy Dufresne fights back the system, avenging the many wrong doings of the tyrant warden, until the climax reveals his grandiose stratagem.

The slow narrative, rushes up your heartbeat in certain crucial moments, making for an ‘edge-of-the-seat’ thriller till the very last scene. It is this very scene, where Frank Darabont inscribed the message to his best friend and agent, Allen Greene, with the message — “Shawshank Redemption, In Memory Of Allen Greene”. 

With the glimmer of hope in his eyes, and the stronghold of perseverance, Andy Dufresne begins his 2-decade long journey of achieving the impossible, by creating the unimaginable, and doing the unthinkable in his last ray of Hope for his freedom! 

It is this very hope, which lays the very foundation of the movie, since the first opening scene, which begins with Morgan Freeman as Ellis ‘Red” Redding narrating the daily ongoings in a much casual and matter-of-fact manner to the audience as a storyteller would be doing, of course! The baritone voice of Freeman, leading the way all through the 142 minutes of Shawshank Redemption screenplay, precisely woven with the mix of elements, which make watching the movie over and over again, a thrill ride!

The fabric of the lives of the inmates, wrongly hung by the thread of a tyrannical warden, who is only concerned with his well-being rather than being upholder of justice, equality, and a compassionate human being.

The story also encompasses the hypocritical society, which seeks to help and reform the criminals it has created, yet in the backdrop of prejudicial opinions, and rampant and lethal racism since over 100 years across the country, where colored people were imprisoned until their deaths for as much petty crimes as simply yelling at someone, or even stealing a tiny piece of bread.

The movie also depicted the social aftermath of such prisoners, when set free into the society after their approval of parole, or reduction in the terms of their sentence, many towards the end of their life. It also bring to light, the hapless condition of a simple man, who might be higher up in the society, yet, when lady luck abandons him, cannot prove his innocence, for the sheer lack of evidence to support his true plight. 

Can it be deemed that Shawshank Redemption could very well be a True Story?

In truth, by facts and records, which are publicly available or studied, NO! There have been no cases similar to the description of Andy Dufresne and his comrades. Moreover, Shawshank is created as a mythical location in Maine, in New England. The entire movie’s prison scenes have been filmed in the Ohio State Reformatory, which has been an inspiration for the original Stephen King’s story, and thereafter, Frank Darabont’s movie adaption. 

After who’s death, was Shawshank Redemption released in Theatres?

Allen Greene, the primary driving force behind Frank Darabont’s paragon of movie making, Shawshank Redemption, passed away due to severe complications arising in his prevailing health conditions caused due to AIDS!