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Compare the opening sequences of James whale's 1931 Frankenstein with the opening sequences of the 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

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Introduction

Compare the opening sequences of James whale's 1931 Frankenstein with the opening sequences of the 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Mary Shelley, creator and author of Frankenstein. Mother to thousands of different versions of the original text, first put pen to paper in 1818. Thousands of directors have since embarked upon producing their versions of Frankenstein. James Whale. Kenneth Branagh. A mere two directors to produce their versions of the gothic horror tale. The two directors versions are a prime example of the different ways in which Frankenstein can be portrayed. The James Whale introduction has a theatre manager introducing the film to the viewer. He is dressed formally and in a slightly scary fashion of a suit, with a flower in his top pocket. This tells the viewer that although the film is horror, there will be a slightly comical side to it. He speaks in a low, scary tone and uses words that convey the genre and scare the viewer. He uses words such as 'thrill', 'shock' and 'horrify' which ,as well as revealing the genre, hook the audience into the film by making them intrigued into what the man believes is so bad and sinister. My first impressions of this were to wonder what the man was meaning and kept me interested in the start of the film. The 1994 Kenneth Branagh version on the other hand adopts a completely different approach to introducing one to the film. ...read more.

Middle

This is more eerie than a brightly lit room with no shadows. By doing this Whale has made the audience feel intimidated and the effect of this is making the viewer feel that the rest of the film may intimidate them as well. Whale uses the same lighting techniques at a different part in the introduction scenes, and has the same motive for doing so. He uses low key lighting on the hunchback and the body that was hanged on the gallows. This creates long shadows, which ultimately have a daunting effect on the audience. A vast majority of Whales lighting is uses to scare the audience, although as this version is in black and white the use of lighting doesn't become obvious, unlike Branaghs version, which is filmed in colour as it is more recent. Branaghs adaptation also uses lighting in order to produce shadows. I feel this is due to the genre of the film as low key lighting is a good feature of horror films. As well as using low key lighting to produce shadows, Branagh also uses it to create pools of light on the characters faces. This makes the audience feel edgy, making them more aware of the characters facial expressions. In the scene where the boat is visible from far away, Branagh uses back lighting to make the ship stand out from the snowy white background. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the background is of a perfect white which makes the characters stand out from the snowy background. Another contradiction used by Branagh is the actual body temperature of the characters. They wear big coats, which make them seem warm, but we can evidently see that they are cold by their faces. By contradicting things Branagh has successfully placed emphasis on certain things. I picked up on the contradictions on my first viewing of this version, and they highlight certain things about the film. I noticed that the characters were in cold climate, as the snow on their dark coats made the scene appear freezing. After viewing these 2 different adaptations of Frankenstein, I feel the recent 1994 Kenneth Branagh version was more enjoyable than the James Whale version. I believe this is because it was produced more recently, therefore the filming and graphics were profoundly better than the 1931 James Whale version. Also, Kenneth Branaghs version links more closely to the text. One can establish this just by looking at the films title " Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" Having read the text I was able to familiarize with Branaghs version, whereas I found that more difficult with the Whale version and I found myself responding negatively it for this reason and pointing out where it had been different and what it had done differently. If the viewer had not read the text then perhaps they would not have had this problem and would have found it more enjoyable than I did. ...read more.

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