• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Compare the way in which the directors of 'Mary Shelly's Frankenstein' (1994) and 'Frankenstein' (1931) use different techniques to build up atmosphere in their opening sequences

Extracts from this document...


Emma Partington Media Coursework "Compare the way in which the directors of 'Mary Shelly's Frankenstein' (1994) and 'Frankenstein' (1931) use different techniques to build up atmosphere in their opening sequences Mary Shelley was only 18 when she wrote Frankenstein, a novel that has come to be one of the most famous horror stories of all time portrayed both on stage and screen. The story itself deals with an ambitious young scientist who creates life, but then rejects his procreation of a monster. James Whale, a Hollywood director with a history of theatre, was the first to adapt Shelley's original text into a film in 1931, starring Borris Karloff as the monster. Whale was directing at a time when the Hollywood industry was very young; the audience of its time had never seen anything like Frankenstein and were easily shocked. Whale's image of Frankenstein's monster has become one of the most well known in the western world. In 1994, British born director Kenneth Branagh directed and produced another version of the film, starring Robert De Niro as the monster. Branagh's monster portrayed quite a different image to the square headed vision most were used to. In 1994 Hollywood was nothing out of the ordinary and it was necessary to think up new methods to scare and shock the ever-demanding audience. ...read more.


When Frankenstein is digging the grave up, he throws dirt over the statue, perhaps representing how he has no respect for death. The props and costumes are used reflect the setting and atmosphere. Dr. Frankenstein's clothes differ from the rest of the cast, wearing a cravat and white shirt; the director may have done this to represent his higher status in society, compared to the mourners or Frankenstein's hunchback assistant. In Branagh's film the costumes are all very similar, they play no major part in the first four minutes studied. However they help to keep in with the mono colour of the ice and pale faces. These bland colours create a stark and dramatic contrast to the bright red blood which comes on screen when the monster's hand dramatically appears. The make up worn by the characters in Whale's film is heavy, pronounced and very theatrical; designed so that people in the theatre could see the faces from far away, but on camera it looks exaggerated and over the top. Branagh has used make-up subtly and realistically, creating red cheeks to show cold conditions alongside messy hair and unshaven faces to represent the length of time since the characters have been near civilization. Whale's theatrical past suggests why all the facial expressions and movements are prominent and exaggerated. ...read more.


As an audience in the 20 and 21st century, we are so used to the conventional shock tactics, that we fail to take into account their effect in older films, such as Whale's Frankenstein. Although aspects of Whale's production may seem dated to today's audience, there's an atmosphere present that would be hard to re-create, even with technological advances. Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein, for all its use of modern technology, lacks the atmospheric build up that Whale's seems to have. Whale's film is more like the nineteenth century novel; his style suits the slow unveiling of narrative, as in the book, whereas Branagh conveys a sense of action and fast moving suspense to satisfy the ever-demanding audience. The fast moving action means that Branagh has not had a chance to build up a sense of fear; everything is over dramatized and with a very fast pace. Although Branagh has indeed created an atmospheric build up, using all the modern technology available, James Whale's Frankenstein has stood the test of time and, although it was directed 63 years before Branagh's, has used the most effective techniques available to build up an atmosphere of tension and fear. If an audience of today find Whale's directing more or equally effective than Branagh's then imagine how well it would have worked on audiences unaccustomed to this level of horror within a film. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. English coursework - Frankenstein

    a beautiful woman; 'In spite of my malignity, it softened and attracted me. For a few moments I gazed with delight on her dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes, and her lovely lips'. The creature not only has beautiful thoughts in this quotation but uses sensitive language: attracted, lovely, delight.

  2. Frankenstein, narrative techniques positioning the protagonists

    blind man De Lacey, but the Creatures only moment of acceptance is ruined by his battering by the 'noble' Felix who had once sacrificed wealth for justice. The Creature, his protagonist uses Romantic language to sway the reader to understand his horrible situation and be judgemental towards Victor.

  1. How has Kenneth Branagh adapted the creation scene from Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' to suit ...

    Sound is also used in the creation scene to build up the tension, fast music is used when the doctor is preparing to bring the creature to life, over the music, once the creature has been brought to life, the clattering and hammering of the monster can be heard from inside the casket, until it bursts open.

  2. Compare the representations of Frankenstein in Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the 1931 film ...

    * Cinema was a get away for people. * Frankenstein was a big horror, and scared the audiences of its day. * The monster, which was thought as Frankenstein became a big horror icon, with a built up brow and a bolt through his neck. 1994: * Kenneth Branagh and Robert de Niro were used to attract audiences.

  1. Looking at Bram Stokers Dracula and Kenneth Brannaghs Frankenstein, show how the directors of ...

    It changes pace and even stops for the parts where you are expecting something to happen to emphasize that bit e.g. the thump of the hand against the tank window and the sound of the ambiotic fluids. The music slows down near the end of the scene and goes sad and melancholic to reflect Dr.

  2. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Identify the techniques, and their effects, which Branagh uses to ...

    Which is understandable but when Victor sees how this monster has come out he does not want to make the same mistake again and ends up getting his wife/half sister killed by the monster. There were some lines of dialogue, that made me, as a part of the audience feel

  1. How does Kenneth Branagh create an atmosphere of horror and suspense in the wedding ...

    Then all of a sudden the monster pop up on the window. This frame is frightening because it all happens very quickly. What happens is that Elizabeth is on the bed just lying down, then all of a sudden the monster pops up on the window, there is very bright lightening and a clash of thunder.

  2. Closely analyse the scene where Frankenstein brings to life his creation in James Whale's ...

    The sound effects that were used are echoes, thunder and rain. This is used to build up suspense it also sets the mood, the thunder makes the audience jump or be scared. The scene is set on the film by a wide shot on the tower on a hill this

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work