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Compare the opening scenes of two film versions of Great Expectations and review how effective they are in creating an atmosphere of tension.

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Compare the opening scenes of two film versions of Great Expectations and review how effective they are in creating an atmosphere of tension The purpose of this essay will be to analyse and compare two versions of the opening scenes of Great Expectations. The first was produced by David Lean in 1994 and the second is an adaptation produced in 1997 by the BBC. In particular, observation will focus on how effective each is at creating an atmosphere of tension with regards to media techniques, sound effects and other film features. Right at the beginning of David Leans version of Great Expectations a book appears which starts to be read by a narrator, the narrator is Pip grown up. This reassures the viewer that Pip survives his eventful child hood. After about a minute the pages start to turn over and then the book starts to fade. I think the book is there to show everyone that it is also a novel written by Charles Dickens, The pages start to turn over which represents the weather which is windy. As soon as the book fades you see Pip running towards the graveyard. To give a tense atmosphere the set is dark and deserted, and the sun is setting, casting a gold tint over Pip, and sound effects of the wind howling have been added. This version is done in Black and White because they did not have colour in 1944. ...read more.


When there are normal scenes the music is just plain. The language is old fashioned and more formal. There is no slang or swearing used. The people talk more politely for example when Pip calls the convict sir and he says to the convict that his sister is called Mrs. Joe. Gargery. Where as these days people would not be so polite. This also shows that he has been brought up right by his sister and brother in law There are many shots in the film that make it more frightening. One of these shots is called a low angle shot. This is used to show that the convict is bigger and more powerful than Pip. These low angle shots let the viewers sense the experience that is coming from Pips point of view. Every shot in my opinion makes the convict more imposing. There are also many extreme close ups so we can see the different types of expressions on the two characters faces. Pip is scared and the convict is angry. All the 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. Music and sound effects mixed together create a scary atmosphere. You can tell that Magwitch has power over Pip, and David Lean has used there differences in heights to demon straight this. ...read more.


We see Pip immediately wake up in bed and he shows that he is terrified and therefore he has had a flashback. We then see his flashback. Continued to the graveyard and what the convict says to him. Here there are extreme close ups to see the chilling fear and worry in Pip, and the rage and the menacing on the convicts face. Conclusion In my opinion I think that both films are excellent in creating atmosphere of tension. The BBC version is structured differently than the 1944 version, and shows Pip meeting with the escaped convict as flash backs. I think this is effective because the audience is forced to wait longer to see the convict, and because the scenes are in different order, this makes the audience think more about what is happening. In think that David Leans version is also effective even though the BBC version is in colour and more up to date. I think that this version is quite a bit better in creating an atmosphere of tension because it is much darker, and the convict seems to appear out of nowhere, whereas in the BBC version we gradually see the convict, so we are not as surprised. The scenery and weather is more effective because when you are in a grave it should not be for a good reason and the windiness in this version shows that. The setting is actually in a graveyard and Pip is caught by the convict in the graveyard. Usman Hussain ...read more.

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