Question: I have a few questions. Were the conditions in the film and book the way they were in reality? Like did they really have movie theaters back then? If it was reality, what happened in the penal system that changed penitentiaries to become more "strict"?
New this month Answer: This question is a bit vague and open to multiple answers, but here's one. Shawshank is a fictional prison, an amalgamation of the general federal penitentiary system of the 1940s-1960s, and as such depicts elements common to prisons of the era. Many penal colonies had movie theaters and other entertainment for the prisoners...it depended on a lot of factors, from the crimes committed by the inmates, to the laws of the particular state, to the inclinations and philosophies of the warden. Most prisons nowadays still have these amenities...they haven't become "more strict" since the time period depicted in the film. And, just as now, prisons like Shawshank had guards that were more or less brutal towards the inmates, inmates who worked for the guards (unofficially), corrupt wardens who exploited the prisoners' labor, draconian punishments, etc.
Question: Andy breaks out, grabs the money, and sends his evidence of wrongdoing to the newspapers. His evidence is so convincing that the cops arrest the head guard and the warden kills himself. So why does Andy hightail it to Mexico? The papers have the story of a lifetime. They're going to complete the investigation that the warden prevented. Andy's going to be a martyr and a hero and clear his name with family and friends. He'll get rich just suing the government for false imprisonment. So why does he opt for life on the lam? ("Don't worry, Red. They'll NEVER find us here in Mexico. You and me, we just blend in.")
Answer: Andy is still under a life sentence for the murder of his wife. With Tommy dead, there's no one to corroborate the story that Elmo Blatch confessed, so it would be Andy's word against Elmo's. And since escaping from prison is a crime in itself, they'd be looking for him for that as well. Best to take the money and flee the country.
Question: Why does Hadley beat the hell out of Boggs after he is released from the hole?
Answer: Since Andy helped Hadley with the tax-free gift, Hadley realized that Andy could be of future financial use, which he can take advantage of considering he's in prison for two life-terms. The sisters beating up Andy would interfere with that-consider that Andy was in the infirmary for a very long time after the last attack. Beating up on Boggs sent a message to the sisters to leave Andy alone...or else.
Question: Did the Warden know about the "Randall Stevens" character? At first it would seem that he didn't, since Andy used the identity to clean out the bank accounts and escape to Mexico. On the other hand, how could the Warden make deposits and withdrawals (before Andy's escape) from his bank accounts without noticing?
Answer: He probably only knows the name. He doesn't want to know anymore, so he can pin the blame on Andy should anything go wrong. He no doubt hasn't even considered that Andy might have ID so he can access the accounts after his escape.
Question: What exactly is the scam Norton is running?
Answer: In a nutshell, tax evasion. He's running the prison like a company doing building work with, as its described by the builder in the movie, a pool of slave labour to allow him undercut other contractors. He is skimming profit for his own pockets, along with taking bribes, etc. that Andy's creative book keeping is hiding from the IRS.
Question: Why would Andy get Hadley arrested? He saved him from the sisters. And what happened to Hadley after he got arrested? Was he put in Shawshank?
Answer: Hadley was a cruel, brutal man who repeatedly beat inmates, in some cases so badly that they died. He was directly responsible for, or an accomplice to, multiple crimes up to and including premeditated murder. By any standards, the guy deserves arrest, conviction and punishment. He may have saved Andy from the Sisters, but that was purely because Andy was useful to both him and the warden with his financial acumen. Hadley stepping in was purely down to self-interest, not any interest in inmate welfare. After all, the Sisters have clearly targetted other prisoners prior to Andy, without any apparent reaction from the prison staff. As for Hadley's eventual fate, it's not revealed.
Question: I am wondering if the scene at the tree in Buxton where Freeman goes to keep his promise to Andy, is the same tree location used in the movie Robin Hood with Morgan Freeman? It sure does look to be the same rock fence and tree on a hill.
Answer: Nope, while there is a similarity, the two locations are on different continents. The Shawshank Redemption shot those scenes in Ohio, while Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves shot almost entirely in the UK, with a few scenes shot in France.
Question: How come Hadley was arrested for Tommy's murder but nobody cares about Fat Ass's murder? There were hundreds of witnesses.
Answer: 1) This is almost twenty years down the road. Many of those witnesses are either gone from the prison, dead, or may have forgotten any details. 2) Hadley beat Fatass because he wouldn't stop talking, breaking the rules. Tommy was just standing there talking to the warden. It's cold blooded murder vs. Simple brutality. 3) Prisoners are often reluctant to testify against guards because of fear of retribution from other guards.
Question: I don't think this is ever answered in the movie, so could someone tell me approximately how much time has elapsed since Andy's escape, until he meets up with Red on the beach in Mexico? Or until Red gets paroled?
Answer: Andy escapes from Shawshank in August 1966, as evidenced by the date on the paper that Norton reads shortly before his suicide. Red's parole comes up the following year, 1967, exact date unknown. He then works at the store for an unspecified but short period of time before fulfilling his promise to Andy to go and find the box buried in the field - from the greenery visible, most likely in the mid-to-late summer - and he then heads to Mexico. In all likelihood, the total time between Andy's escape and he and Red being united is about a year, give or take a couple of months either way.
Question: It looks to me like Andy works in a laundry in the prison. If thats so how come they get sheets delivered from the outside? It looks that way to me when the rock hammer is delivered.
Answer: They take in other laundry to help fund the prison, probably from local hotels or hospitals.
Question: Stupid, random question but I'll ask anyway. If there was a grate in the pipe that he escaped from, Andy would'be been screwed at that point huh?
Answer: To put it mildly. Red addresses it in his narration in the novella: "Here's a joke even funnier than the parole would have been: Andy breaks into the sewer line, crawls through five hundred yards of choking, shit-smelling darkness, and comes up against a heavy-gauge mesh screen at the end of it all. Ha, ha, very funny."
Question: When Andy got Norton and Hadley arrested, how did he manage to prove that they murdered Tommy? How did he manage to prove that he wasn't trying to escape?
Answer: He provided the authorities (and the media) evidence of all the money-laundering and illegal activities that happened at Shawshank...any specific evidence he had regarding Tommy is not shown in the film, but it can be assumed that Hadley, as revealed in Red's narration, broke down and confessed. Andy never intended to prove he wasn't trying to escape...he DID escape, so any attempt by him to prove otherwise would have been met with skepticism. Also, as far as the authorities are concerned, all the evidence came from his alter ego, "Randall Stevens."
Question: In the trial at the start of the movie, we see a flashback of Andy walking with his gun. Where exactly was he? Was that a real flashback, or just what the prosecutor was assuming happened? Did Andy actually almost kill his wife but decide against it?
Answer: Andy showed up at his wife's lover's house, either to kill them or just threaten them. He had a change of heart and left. Unfortunately, his fingerprints were all over the bullets and liquor bottle he left at the scene, which was pretty damning.
Question: If Norton had helped Andy get a new trial, would it really work? There was no evidence that Elmo Blatch committed the murders.
Answer: The sole piece of evidence was to be Tommy's testimony, which could have exonerated Andy even if it didn't prove that Blatch was the killer. When Tommy was murdered by Hadley under orders from Norton, that ended any chance of Andy getting a new trial.
Question: When Andy tells the warden how Tommy knows who really murdered his wife, the warden sympathetically says that Tommy made up the story to impress Andy, and he's surprised that Andy believed it. He also says they'd never be able to find that Elmo guy, and even if they did, he'd never confess. Isn't the warden essentially admitting he thinks that Andy is not guilty? Otherwise he'd just say 'I don't believe you, I know you were the one who killed your wife.'.
Answer: The warden doesn't care whether Andy is innocent or guilty, only that his money-making schemes continue (with Andy's help).