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Compare the opening of two different film versions of the novel “Great Expectations”.

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In this essay I am going to compare the opening of two different film versions of the novel "Great Expectations". Both films are based on the novel by Charles Dickens. The older version of the movie was directed by David Lean in 1946, whereas the new version was directed by Alfonso Cuaron in 1998. There is a major time gap between the two films; therefore there are a lot of differences. In order to show both differences and similarities I will firstly describe the old version, then compare the difference and similarities to the new version. I will also be giving my opinions as well. The first thing you notice about the older version is that it is black and white. There were actually colour films when the film was released, nevertheless the director decided to use black and white for effect. It was done intentionally, in view of the fact that the novel was wrote a long time before the film was made. The director wanted it look like the days the novel is set in. People currently do not like black and white movies, seeing that colour films seem more sophisticated, but black and white creates a scarier atmosphere as most things seem to be dark. An example of this is the graveyard seen. Everything seems to be darker, spooky and dull, which adds to the tension and atmosphere. Another reason why black and white is good, is that it makes you concentrate only on what is important and nothing in the background catches your attention. On the other hand, Alfonso Cuaron's version of the film is in colour. This makes the film more modern and advanced. It creates an exultant atmosphere and shows us clearly what is going on. The film is set in a place which can involve a lot of colour. It has colourful surroundings everywhere and makes the whole place look more spaced out and scenic. ...read more.


However, the language in the new version is more modern and lots of slang and swear words are used. It is less formal. This creates a bad atmosphere as there are always arguments and fights when bad language or a bad tone of voice is used. The people have an American accent, as the film is set in Florida. The reason a different type of language is used is because the film is made in modern times and the dialogues are not related to the novel. It is also set in a different place compared to the old version. In my opinion, I think that the language used in the old version is better than the language used in the new version. This is because the language is more formal and everyone seems more civil and respectful. The costume used in the Lean's version is more outdated. This is because of the time setting of the film. The film is based on Charles Dickens times, so the costume designer got the costumes to match the time. The people also wear clothes according to their class. The rich people wear suits and dresses with a hat. The poor people have to wear whatever they can afford. Working class people will wear their uniform. An example of costume change is when Pip changes from a poor person to a rich person. The costumes used in the new version are more "up-to-date" and latest fashion. People dress in more uncharacteristic ways according to the old version. Similar to the old version, they dress according to their class. Finn wears clothes that cheap t-shirts, whereas the rich people wear more expensive clothes. The costume is made to go with the time settings of the film. They have to dress in modern ways as it would seem inappropriate to have the characters wearing old fashioned clothes. In my opinion, I think both the costumes used in the movies are very well done. ...read more.


The music in the old version seems to go with your heartbeat. When your heart is beating fast there is fast music. The sounds used in the new version are used in an analogous way to the old version. There is fast music when there is exhilaration or anxiety. This will add to the tension and atmosphere. It is more modernised and technical. The music also has songs that have been sung by someone else. For instance, when Pip meets the mad lady she is dancing to a music which is a song. The music is very creative, reminiscent of the old version. The music seems to go with your heartbeat. I think the music in the new version is better than the old version, even though they are partly similar. The new versions music is quite and soothing most of the time, whereas the in the old version it is loud and annoying. The old version has a lot of dramatic tension and atmosphere. Parts, such as when Pip meets the criminal with a scar, have a lot of tension and atmosphere. There is a dramatic build up to the scene. Firstly, he remembers the fear-provoking words of the convict. Subsequently, he sees things such as the cows talking. When he reaches the graveyard there is a man there, who is not facing him. When he is there it is dark and macabre. There is also quite, slow music, which adds to the dramatic tension and atmosphere. Pip walks up to him slowly, which makes it more interesting. When he touches him and the convict turns around there is sudden dramatic movement and change of picture. There is also dramatic tension when the police are chasing the convicts. Pip does not want them to find the convicts as his secret may be out, therefore there is a lot of dramatic tension when the convicts are found. Similarly, the new version has a lot of dramatic tension and atmosphere. They use a different technique to make the dramatic atmosphere. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hamid Khan 10B GCSE Great Expectations Coursework Page 1 ...read more.

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