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Compare how tension and fear is created in the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations', looking at two film versions and the original text.

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Introduction

Compare how tension and fear is created in the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations', looking at two film versions and the original text. For my GCSE Media unit I will be comparing how tension and fear is created in the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens, the black and white film version produced by David Lean and the colour version produced by Kevin Conner. I intend to compare how the fear and tension is created in each of the versions by use of special effects and also, other factors such as actors and sound effects that help to add to the tension and fear. I will consider and compare how successful each version each at creating the feelings and why they were chosen to be used. The written word by Charles Dickens begins with a passage that sets the scene. There is a young boy alone crying, he is in a "bleak" and "overgrown" area. There isn't much life, and death surrounds him. The wind is rushing and sea is described as a "savage lair". The air is raw and the boy is being attacked by his surroundings, the wind is beating him and the sea is fearful. It feels dark and cold as you read it and death is featured heavily, there are gallows all around and the boy is surrounded by gravestones. The atmosphere in scary and makes you wonder why the boy would be there creating tension and fear. ...read more.

Middle

There is no other noise. It is very alone and you get a feeling as if something is about to happen. This feeling is similar to the way the written text begins, with the sudden jump to speech from the description passage. Kevin Conner then shows a small boy running across the marshes, the same way that David Lean introduces the boy. Differences in the colour can then be seen and is like a total change of atmosphere, giving the impression of heaven and hell. The music changes also and it is cheerful, and gives the sense of the carefree innocence that a child is the boys age would feel. But is still mysterious and feels out of place in the scene adding to the tension. Out the three versions, I think that the atmosphere is shown better through the colour version, little things help to add the mystery and I like the way that the colour is introduced later on, as if it was creeping towards the boy getting closer and closer. When the characters are in the graveyard, the atmosphere adds to the fear and tension as well as what is going on through actions and conversations. In the book, the churchyard isn't described as much as the marshes are described. I think this good because it allows you to use your imagination. Dickens tells us it is overgrown and there are gravestones all around the area. ...read more.

Conclusion

"After each question he tilted me over a little more, so as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger" Through the text we are shown how vulnerable and scared Pip felt in the presence of Magwitch, and feels threatened him. "'You get me a file' He tilted me again. 'And you get me wittles.' He tilted me again. 'You bring 'em both to me.' He tilted me again" The way Charles Dickens has used the punctuation adds to fear also. The sentences are short and the full stops give them a sudden ending and during the pause you can imagine Pip being moved further and further. They take you through the actions step by step this gives you the idea as if you were actually there watching it. These effects of feeling as though you are there are greatened by the use of the point of view shots. In both versions we are given shots from either the point of Pip or the point of Magwitch adding to fear because it as if we are really there. They give us clear views of the reactions and this effective as we feel for the character if they are scared, it makes us scared. The best point of view shot is used in Kevin Conner's version. When Pip is turned upside down by Magwitch, the camera follows him as if it were strapped to his head. This is a good effect as it is sudden and you can understand why Pip would be so fearful of the stranger having been picked up and thrown round unsuspectingly. Kathryn Otoka 10F1 ...read more.

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