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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 widely known book 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens has many film adaptations, but during this essay I will be concentrating on two particular versions, the 1945 version, directed by David Lean and the 1997 version, directed by Julian Jarrold. During this essay I will be reviewing how effective each of these openings are and comparing them. Camera Angles are clearly the most important factor at creating an atmosphere of tension in the opening of this film. For an audience of today the camera angles and shots, from the later version directed by Julian Jarrold is much more effective at creating tension, as the short, snappy changes between shots such as jump shot to the grave yard, close up on the convicts feet, jump shot, Pips face, jump shot, close up on the convicts feet again etc. This fast action keeps the audience engaged and they always have something to be looking at. ...read more.


At the start of David Leans version he uses the older Pip to narrate from the book 'Great Expectations', which is lighted by a spot light, this isn't very effective as it tell the audience that Pip is still alive at the end, leaving some of the suspense out of the scene. David Lean uses a number of sound effects such as bird noises to make the marshes sound wild and tries to create tension by using the creaking of trees and rattling of chains on the convict. As the technology was not as well advanced in 1945 as it is today the sound effects are obviously not as good as the 1997 and this can make the film seem inadequate compared to Julian Jarrold's version. Similar to David Lean, Julian Jarrold uses a wide range of sound effects to show the wildness and desolate marshes, but he also uses sounds such as foot steps and heavy breathing which interrupts the music at times. Although David Lean contradicts the film with the music, he uses the weather effectively to set the atmosphere, using strong wind, that whistles in the vast open marshes, to show how desolate they are. ...read more.


hair, brown eyes and a rough, rugged, cheeky look about him, to suit today's audience and meet their expectations of a boy of that age, so its easier for them to relate to the film. David Leans Pip wears a scarf, shirt, waist coast and slightly short trousers showing that he is poor and Julian Jarrold's Pip wears short trousers and a shirt, which is very dirty and ripped. David Lean chooses to stay very close to the script in the book and the script is almost the exact writings from the book. But Julian Jarrold however decided to use none of the script and let the actions speak for themselves, in the whole of the opening only one word is said, which is "MUMMY" which is said by Pip. In conclusion both films are effective at creating an atmosphere or tension for each of the targeted audiences. As the version directed by David Lean was made in 1945, people had different interests, so that particular version shown to an audience today may not be that effective as the later version directed by Julian Jarrold. Natalie Ahluwalia ...read more.

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