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Compare the Opening Scenes of the David Lean and the B.B.C. Versions of Great Expectations By Charles Dickens. Which is More Effective at Creating an Atmosphere of Fear and Tension, and How True are They to the Original Text Version?

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Introduction

Compare the Opening Scenes of the David Lean and the B.B.C. Versions of Great Expectations By Charles Dickens. Which is More Effective at Creating an Atmosphere of Fear and Tension, and How True are They to the Original Text Version? David Lean's version of Great Expectations is in my opinion more effective at showing the fear and tension in Scene 1. David Leans version was made in 1946 so it is shot in black and white. The BBC Version was made in 1997 and was in colour. Lean's version is very similar to the novel more than the B.B.C version. Lean's was the most effective at using most of the dialogue than the B.B.C version. The B.B.C version used a small amount of the dialogue. At the beginning of Lean's film the audience are shocked by the scenery. The first things we see are the gallows where the convicts are hanged. Then the camera shot is in the graveyard, where the creepy sound effects such as the trees creaking and the wind whistling come into play. ...read more.

Middle

Every shot, in my opinion, makes the convict more imposing. There are also many extreme close ups so we can see the difference of expressions on the two characters faces. Pip is scared and the convict is angry and satanic. The lighting also adds to the feeling. When the convict grabs Pip, the light is darker on the convict than Pip. There is a low key light on Pip to show a scarier convict. Compared to the BBC version, the sky and landscape is more drab and eerie. This is very different to the opening scene in the BBC version. We see that Pip is in the marshes, which obviously makes Pip look like a very small person. The tracking shot also adds to the effect of making Pip appear like this. We do not see the convict's face or physical features when he starts running after Pip. This makes the viewer think that Pip is very small as Pip can only see the legs of the convict. We hear the convict's heavy breathing and chains that hang on his legs and body so it allows us to know he is present and is a convict. ...read more.

Conclusion

All directors need good music and sound effects to create tension to get the viewers attracted to the film. There are trees that creak and the wind can be heard in David Leans version. This music and sound mix together creating a scary atmosphere. In the BBC version the music is constant and it is first slow and up beat then its jolly music. The music and sound effects from both films create an eerier kind of mood and atmosphere but Lean's is more successful. In my opinion, as a whole David Lean's version is more effective with the audience subjected to terror and fear. Even though the BBC version is more up to date and in colour, I do like the black and white version better as it is much darker, and the convict seems to appear out of nowhere just like the original text, whereas in the BBC version, we gradually see the convict, so we are not as surprised. The scenery is more effective too because the setting is actually in a graveyard and Pip is caught by the convict in the graveyard. This happened in the novel but in the BBC version, this did not happen as much as in David Lean's version. James Hooper ...read more.

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