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Compare and contrast the way in which the Directors of 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' (1994) and 'Frankenstein' (1931) use diff

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the way in which the Directors of 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' (1994) and 'Frankenstein' (1931) use different film techniques to build up atmosphere in their opening sequences. Mary Shelley wrote her novel 'Frankenstein' when she was just a young girl of nineteen. She wrote it in 1816, when she went on holiday with her friend, Byron. Byron was already a famous poet, and it was him who suggested that whilst they were away, they should both write a ghost story. At the time it was just a way of passing time and having fun for Mary Shelley, but little did she know that her story would become famous worldwide. Many adaptations of 'Frankenstein' have been made for cinema in the 20th century. Two of the most significant being those studied in this assignment. A man named James Whale directed the film 'Frankenstein' which was released in 1931. He was a British born director with a history of working in theatre, and this is probably the reason as to why his film imitates the stage in places. It was filmed at Universal Pictures, which was a very powerful Hollywood studio. The film opened on 4 November 1931 at the Mayfair Theatre in New York's Times Square and it caused an immediate sensation. It was voted one of the films of the year by the New York Times and earned Universal Pictures $12 million. ...read more.

Middle

Branagh still uses the diegetic sound effectively, which helps bring realism to the setting, like in Whale's version. He uses the sounds of wind howling which is very atmospheric. Branagh has chosen to use non-diegetic sound in his film because he can accentuate the tension wherever he wants. For example, when the captain and the sailor are talking, it is obvious that Branagh wanted to accentuate the word 'mutiny', because the use of the word is accompanied by orchestral music using very strong chords to reflect the drama. I think that although the tones of the actors voices can be used to build up tension, it can be done far more effectively with non-diegetic music. That is one of the reasons why I think the drama is built up far more in Branagh's version than in Whale's version. The monster's howl in Branagh's version builds up a sense of mystery, because the howl can be heard and yet nothing can be seen. There is a constant threat that you can't see what is there. The monster's howl is isolated. There is no other sound over it. It would not be possible to isolate the sound of the howl without the effect of stopping the non-diegetic music. It is the non-diegetic sounds in Branagh's film which makes the opening scene so tense and dramatic. The Mise en Scene used in James Whale's 'Frankenstein' suggests to the audience a very strong atmosphere of death and evil. ...read more.

Conclusion

However in Branagh's opening sequence there are over 57 edits in just 2 minutes. Branagh also uses the style of the edit effectively to add movement to the sequence. An example of when he uses the style of the edit very effectively is when the dogs are being murdered. He uses a series of jump cuts at a very quick speed to add dramatic movement. I think that both Directors are trying to create a strong atmosphere and tension. They both want their audience to be full of suspense after the opening sequences. In doing so they set the mood for the rest of the film. Both Whale and Branagh use the same techniques but in very different ways. Branagh uses non-diegetic sound very effectively to create a tense atmosphere. However Whale uses silence to the same effect but in a very different way. Both Directors use the theme of death in their opening sequences. Whale uses the theme of death, setting his opening sequence in a grave yard and by using props which all symbolize death and Branagh represents the theme of death by using very pale make up and by setting it in a deathly cold place. They also use isolation to create tension. They use their different styles and techniques very effectively, by engaging their audiences to create the same emotion. However, I do think that Branagh uses his techniques, the sound and the mise en scene more effectively to create a brilliant film and a very powerful, emotionally charged atmosphere. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Harvey - 1 - ...read more.

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