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Compare the filming techniques used in Pip's first meeting with Miss Havisham with two adaptations of Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations".

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Oliver Moss Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Compare the filming techniques used in Pip's first meeting with Miss Havisham with two adaptations of Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations" The two film clips that this essay will be based on, and comparing, is a version by Julian Jarrold which appeared on TV screens in 1999 and a much older cinema appearance by David Lean from 1946. The first noticeable difference is that the earlier film is played in black and white and therefore has certain lighting limitations and, as a result of technological disadvantages, has limited camera shot availability. However, there are a number of useful factors available for analysis. Both films attempt to build up a sense of mystery and increasing tension all the way through the scenes and the task in hand is to focus in on all the different types of filming techniques used to do so. On the whole, the 1999 version is darker than the 1946 edition and this increases the tension factor. Each scene takes us from Pip entering Miss Havisham's room to when he leaves and incorporates all of the insults and belittling from Miss Havisham and Estella, although even this is played differently in the two films; David Lean makes very obvious insults as though Estella is actually telling him he is lower than her yet in Jarrold's version Estella either insults Pip to Miss Havisham or to herself in an undertone. ...read more.


Finally, when Pip and Miss Havisham are talking, there is a two shot of them to show each reaction as each person says something. There is only one similarity between the two films in the musical techniques which occurs when Miss Havisham asks to "see some play", when both films have a small crescendo and both use many notes in a short time which really makes an impact. There is a large build up in questioning, as if to ask, "What is your fancy?" Making this moment in the film very suspicious where Miss Havisham could either be a complete psychopath with a sick bordering on perverted mind or just an over-interested old woman. Both films use music to build suspense but the 1946 version uses considerably more music than Jarrold, however, the music Jarrold does use is very effective. As Pip enters the room in Lean's version, there is an enormous crescendo on the brass and strings which gets louder as the door opens and more of the room is revealed and only quietens when Miss Havisham talks, and increases further until you actually see Miss Havisham, when it comes to an abrupt halt, this music builds tension and really "gets the viewer going" because nobody has any idea of what is lying behind the door. ...read more.


Both have used their independent filming techniques to create as good an interpretation of the book as possible and although both are very different, both get the important points across well. Each scene has portrayed each character as they should be, i.e. over-confident, snobbish Estella, unconfident Pip and powerful, intimidating Miss Havisham. The rooms appeared totally different, Jarrold's interpretation was much more glamorous and pretty at one point and Lean's was dull and old, and, I agree more with Jarrold, the room, like Miss Havisham, was beautiful at some point but is now messy and discarded, and Jarrold shows this perfectly. Miss Havisham appeared much stricter in Lean's version, and I have to say I don't agree and think Jarrold's Miss Havisham was better played. Although very different filming techniques were used, both portrayed all the necessary emotions very well. Both directors use totally different approaches in all aspects, but it is necessary to look a little deeper into the reasons for using each option. Although Jarrold uses a lighter approach to shadow techniques and his silhouettes aren't as bold, the effects put across to the viewer are very strong and portray the correct atmosphere for Pip's belittlement. The music used by Jarrold is minimal compared to Lean's interpretation but the delicate tune is more of a background noise that increases tension to a greater amount than a full orchestral approach, it just sits in the back of the audience's mind and is almost spooky. ...read more.

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