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Compare the ways in which tension is created in these two opening sequences of 'Great Expectations': David Lean's 1946 version and Julian Jarrold's 1999 version.

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which tension is created in these two opening sequences of 'Great Expectations': David Lean's 1946 version and Julian Jarrold's 1999 version. In the beginning of Great Expectations we meet Pip, a lonely, fearful boy. In both opening sequences, Julian Jarrold and David Lean encourage the viewer to feel sorry for Pip. Both directors do this successfully by manipulating Pip's innocence and his existence without a mother or a father. In the 1999 version, the establishing shot shows Pip very small in the bleak, desolate background compared to his surroundings, the vast marshland. Lean applies the long shot to full effect by showing Pip in the background as tiny and innocent. This is one of the many ways David Lean tries to stimulate the viewer's sympathy for Pip. Lean presents Pip as a clean, well dressed young boy and again forces the viewer to show compassion for Pip through exploiting his innocent appearance in his actions of weeding the grave and in the way he runs and looks around warily. Lean shows Pip going over to his mother and father's grave and shows him weeding the grave predominantly to gain the viewer's sympathy. We view the dark and ominous looking clouds and the trees which look like intimidating faces through Pip's eyes. This is because David Lean wishes the viewer to sympathize for Pip, and so allows the viewer into Pips imagination and thoughts. ...read more.

Middle

From his fixed stare on Pip and his angry scowl we can see that he intends to do harm, otherwise he would've had no other reason to chase Pip. In the 1999 version when Pip is running he keeps looking back, the scene is shot from the convict's point of view. The tilt of the camera shows Pip running and then falling to the ground, this falling shows that the convict has power over Pip. After this Jarrold shows us only the convict's legs causing suspense and causes the audience to be anxious about Pip. The close-up shot of the convict's legs makes the chains very noticeable and explain his slow heavy movement. While the viewer is watching the convict's legs Pip cannot be seen and so we wonder what he is doing. This causes frustrations and suspense for the viewer as this makes them want to move the camera to see Pip but they can't. David Lean shows the convict in darkness to portray his evilness whereas Pip is shot in bright light to emphasise his innocence. This is particularly noticeable when the convict is in control, trying to tilt Pip over the gravestone. The main difference between the two versions is that David Lean's is in black and white. The black writing on the white background is very conventional and the opening music is light-hearted and doesn't appear to fit the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

The sounds are repetitive and tedious causing frustration and anxiety in the viewer. When the screen suddenly cuts to the birds and the sound of them flying above the ground we cannot see what is happening to Pip. These birds cause suspense as the viewer is only able to see a small portion of the scenery, but we are aware that this is happening simultaneously to whatever the convict is doing to harm Pip. The viewer is left to feel helpless. The birds fly very fast and seem to have had a startled panic. Julian Jarrold may have done this to show how scared Pip is or the birds could have been shown like this as if they are hurrying to get home before sunset. The sun is shown to be setting in the sky; this informs the viewer about the setting. It creates suspense and tells the viewer that it is now late in the evening. The scenery of the birds is then faded and the scene blends into the next, which is back to the bleak marshlands with the titles. The titles are used in this version to create tension unlike the Lean version. After the break with the birds the viewer is oblivious to what has happened to Pip and only the marshland with no-one around is visible to the viewer. The isolation of Pip is tormenting because anything could happen to him now that the angry convict has him. Intrigued, the viewer keeps watching and listening to see Pip. 1 ...read more.

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