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Analyse the way two directors adapt the opening of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

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Introduction

Analyse the way two directors adapt the opening of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens Great Expectations is a popular story that has been adapted many times and into several mediums. My task is to examine how effectively two directors modified the opening chapter from the written version. The two directors are David Lean and Julian Jarrold. David Lean chooses to display his elaborate title and credit sequence before any screenplay is seen. This would most likely have been because the audience of his time would have expected this. They would feel that once a film had started, it had really started. His elaborate title uses a very old fashioned and ostentatious font, which is very fitting of the film, as it is how I feel Dickens, would have intended it to be at this time. The sound in Lean's opening sequence uses music from the National Symphony Orchestra that is very dramatic and helps to confirm this film as an epic. However, Jarrold uses a completely different approach and places his title and credit sequence after the opening. ...read more.

Middle

Jarrold's use of Point of View shots give the audience a chance to feel more involved in the film and to help them to feel the confusion of the chase. The cornfield field itself is Jarrold's own notion and is not mentioned anywhere in the written novel. However, I feel that this really helps to show Pip trying to hide but that he cannot escape. Lean does however; use some effective techniques to show the characters. He shows the vast landscape with tall-silhouetted Gibbets to indicate just how small and vulnerable Pip is running across the marshland. These uses of lights and darks are very apparent when me meet the convict, Magwitch. Pip remains in the light but the convict's face is shrouded from with darkness to convince the audience he is an evil character. Pip's lightened appearance shows his innocence and makes the audience wonder why such a nice boy is in such a dark and gloomy place. After the confrontation, Pip is seen scrabbling home across the marshes as quickly as possible, using the same eerie landscape. ...read more.

Conclusion

David Lean made his version for cinema in 1946 and as such was catering for a very different audience to the 1999 television version by Julian Jarrold. Jarrold would have been competing with all the other channels and would have to attract viewers who had not read the novel, whereas Lean's audience would most likely have been familiar with Dickens "Great Expectations." Jarrold did have several advantages over Lean in that the popularity of filmmaking has encouraged technological advances in this field. He was able to use mobile cameras and lighting techniques, and most of his sound is synthesised or computer generated. Personally, I prefer Jarrold's version, but then again, I should do. All of his techniques are aimed at today's audience, which includes me. As such I feel it is somewhat unfair for me to make a definitive judgement on Lean's work as it was made some 40 years before I was even born. If however I asked someone in their 70s or 80s to judge Lean's version they would without a doubt prefer it to Jarrold's version. From this and the information I included earlier I can safely say that both these adaptations provide an entertaining and anticipation-filled experience for their intended audiences. 1 ...read more.

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