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Compare the Creation Scene in James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein & Kenneth Brannagh's 1994 Version

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Introduction

Compare the Creation Scene in James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein & Kenneth Brannagh's 1994 Version There are many similarities and differences between James Whale's 1931 and Kenneth Brannagh's 1994 Frankenstein. They differ in the way that lighting, sound effects and camera shots are used to create tension and suspense for the audience. Some similarities that occur are the religious references which are present throughout the scenes. The purposes of the scenes are also the same, to create tension, suspense and to shock the audience; however they do this in different ways as the audiences the two films were intended for are very different. It would be easier to shock or scare a 1931 audience than one from 1994 as the special effects and camera techniques available in 1931 would have been very limited. Where as in 1994 there were many special effects and techniques available to use. Furthermore, James Whale's Frankenstein is more of a traditional horror film as it uses typical iconography of the horror genre. Where as Kenneth Brannagh's Frankenstein follows Mary Shelley's original novel more closely. The establishing shot of the scenes in James Whales and Kenneth Brannagh's interpretations could not be more different in the way that they create tension and suspense for the audience. James Whale uses typical iconography of the horror genre; the scene opens with a high angle, long shot of a very dark, quite daunting looking castle on top a large hill surrounded by sparse trees and craggy rocks. ...read more.

Middle

The scene then moves on to a tracking shot following Frankenstein walking quickly through the lab; by doing this he has reveal who the footsteps belong to and where they are going, but has also created a new tension for the audience as they don't know why Frankenstein is agitated and moving so quickly. The way in which the monster is revealed to the audience and brought to life in the two films is also very different. In the 1931 version of the film James Whale delays revealing the monster for as long as possible. He uses interruptions, such as the arrival of Elizabeth, to distract the audience from the monster, this builds up a lot of suspense and frustration for the audience as they want to see the creation but cant. Also, the monster is revealed to the other characters before it is revealed to the audience, the reactions of the other characters towards seeing the monster helps to build tension for the audience as the audience are wanting to know what the creation looks like and why it has made the characters act this way. James Whale uses camera angles to create suspense as he hides the monster from the audience's view but shows the characters faces instead. During the creation of the monster a lot of mechanical sound effects are used, such as the moving of heaving machinery and electrical sparks, this could ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, a gloomy and depressive atmosphere is created by the bells which can be heard in the background, these could signify death or funerals. Nevertheless, James Whale's and Kenneth Brannagh's interpretations of Frankenstein do have similarities; they both make references to religion and specifically Christianity. In James Whale's interpretation Frankenstein is wearing a white lab coat, this could symbolize the purity of God and Frankenstein's attempted to play God by creating life. Further on in the scene Frankenstein is bent over the monster stroking its hand. This could show that Frankenstein is taking on a fatherly role by caring for the monster and showing it love, this could also be religious symbolism as Frankenstein could be seen as God tending for his son, Jesus Christ, attempting to bring him back to life. Kenneth Brannagh's interpretation again shows religious symbolism. Towards the beginning of the scene the monster is lying on a wooden board with its arms outstretched, this could be an imitation of Jesus on the cross, Frankenstein then hoists the monster up to the ceiling and it is bathed in a bright light from the window, this could be seen as Jesus rising up to heaven as the monster appears to be disappearing into the light. In conclusion, I think that the ways in which James Whale and Kenneth Brannagh have created tension and suspense for the audiences are very different; they have done this by using sound effects, lighting techniques and camera shots but in very different ways. ...read more.

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