What's the Difference between Hidden Figures the Book and Hidden Figures the Movie?


Hidden Figures

Released: 2016
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures

Released: 2017
Director: Theodore Melfi
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In the Book In the Movie
Dorothy Vaughan
Dorothy Vaughan
Portrayed by: Octavia Spencer
Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson
Portrayed by: Taraji P. Henson
Mary Jackson
Mary Jackson
Portrayed by: Janelle Monae
This Character does not appear.
Al Harrison
Portrayed by: Kevin Costner
This Character does not appear.
Vivian Mitchell
Portrayed by: Kirsten Dunst
Paul Stafford
Paul Stafford
Portrayed by: Jim Parsons
John Glenn
John Glenn
Portrayed by: Glen Powell
Hidden Figures Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   Near the end of WWII Dorothy Vanghan was made a supervisor and 1946 a permanent civil service employee. Vaughan was not officially promoted until 1962.
   In 1947 with most of the East (white) computing jobs working directly for engineering groups, the East Computing group was disbanded and all work routed to West (black) computing. A Bell electronic calculator was purchased that could calculate in a few hours what the computing women could do in a month. The East (white) computing group is never shown to be disbanded.
   Dorothy Vanghan becomes acting head of West Computing in April 1949 after Sponsler (a white female supervisor) departs. Promoted to full section head in 1951. She was not promoted until 1962.
   While Mary Jackson was working on the East end of Langley in 1953 she had difficulty locating a colored restroom, asked some white ladies for help and was told “how would we know where your restroom is?” She vented her rage on Kasimierz Czarnecki who then offered her a job with him at the supersonic pressure tunnel. Operation of the wind tunnel was one of her responsibilities. This happens to Katherine Johnson (in 1961). When she is chastised by her boss for being gone so often, she loudly berates him in front of the other engineers because she has to walk a long way to find colored restroom to use. Her boss, Al Harrison removes the “colored” coffee pot from the office and later on removes the colored ladies restroom sign with a sledgehammer. (Shouldn't he have removed the white ladies restroom sign to allow all the women to use it?)
   The Mercury heat shield is actually on the bottom of the spacecraft, not the sides. Mary Jackson operates the wind tunnel and set up models to be tested as part of her duties soon after reporting for work there. Kazimierz Czarnecki encourages Mary Jackson to further her education to become an engineer. While reporting to a new assignment at a wind tunnel, Mary Jackson nearly gets stuck (high heel stuck in a grate) in the tunnel when they start it up. She observes what the other engineers call parts of the heat shield ripping off from the sides of the Mercury capsule mockup and is able to suggest an improvement. She is asked by Karl Zielinski (A Polish Jew), “if she was a white man, would she want to be an engineer?” She says she’d already be one if she wasn't a black woman, but the local schools don't allow blacks to attend.
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