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Compare the opening scenes from two versions of great expectations. Which version do you think is most effective for the audience?

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Compare the opening scenes from two versions of great expectations. Which version do you think is most effective for the audience? Consider; chapter 1 from the novel Camera work Dickens, one of the best novelists of all time wrote many books campaigning for social justice and work was filmed many times as he was a very famous actor. Making a film like this would require much thought and there are many problems a Director would face for example the setting of the movie and what people expect from characters like expressions and speech. That's also true in films like Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings etc. where the Director has had to try and portray characters who are familiar to the people from the book in to the movie or maybe keep it simple or add touches of special effects. The first Great Expectations I saw was in black and white and was made in 1946 at about Christmas time. Surprisingly colour was available at the time but the director, David Lean chose to work in black & white. ...read more.


Magwitch leaves Pip, who runs back to the forge and the camera moves from the desolate marshland to a creepy house in the middle of nowhere and then leaving the viewers with a sense of sadness, the opening ends. The other opening we saw was made in 1999- half a century apart. It was directed by Julian Jarrold and was supposed to be for TV in about hour-long episodes. This gave the director a lot more time to reveal and unfold the plot. It opens with views of the English cornfields, contradicting with the opening of Dickens's Novel which was supposed to be Christmas time. Then slowly we get a sight of Pip who looks around confused about something and then sets off on a scary run. All this time, the camera has become the pursuer and as it transforms into a slow motion run you catch the child's fear and terror before he enters the graveyard. Compared to the first clip, this one makes no connection that he is in a graveyard and it seems like it's just some props which have been put up as it's in the middle of some cornfields and we see no sign of a church like in the first opening or any other graveyard. ...read more.


After that Pip wakes up from his 'nightmare' and the short clip ends. From reading chapter 1 from the novel and with the points stated, I think that the colour version is a better one. If we wanted to go by the novel, then David Lean's version is perfect for that as it gives us perfect views of the marshes with the gibbets and a bleak place with nettles as a graveyard which is how Pip described it in the novel. Also, Magwitch's speech and characterisation is the same as you would have imagined in the book with all the background sounds and gothic effects. On the other hand though, the colour version with the help of great special effects gives you detailed moments of each scene especially with the camera tracking shots of Pip and the slow motion. Julian Jarrold also uses the artistic licence to great effect by making Pip scream at his mother's grave and putting the most parts of his experience with Magwitch as a sort of daydream by Pip. The B&W version makes it more atmospheric and gothic but the colour one which is a blend of tradition and modern technology makes it very easy to understand ...read more.

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