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Comparing the method used in creating tension In two film versions of the novel 'Great Expectations'.

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Media Essay Comparing the method used in creating tension In two film versions of the novel 'Great Expectations' 'Great Expectations' was written by Charles Dickens in the 19th century (1860-1861). It is said to be one of the classics of the English literary heritage and several film adaptations have been made of it. It first appeared in a weekly magazine called 'All the year round'. 'Great Expectations' is a book in which Dickens returned to the theme of a youth's discovery of the realities of life. An unknown person provides the young hero, Pip, with money so that Pip can live as a gentleman. Pip's pride is shattered when he learns there source of his 'Great Expectations'. Only by revising his values does Pip restore his life on a foundation of empathy rather than on social position. In this coursework I shall be comparing two film versions: David Lean's 1944 black and white version starring John Nutts and the 1997 colour version directed by Alfonso Cuaron which features, Ethan Hawke; Gwyneth Paltrow; Anne Bankcroft and Robert Deniro. I intend to compare the opening chapters in the two film versions, in which the young Pip/Finn encounters a scary convict who later becomes a momentous figure in Pip's life. ...read more.


When I was watching Pip I felt a lot of sympathy because I had seen from the gravestone that both of his parents had died and learned that his only relative was his sister who he lived with and she wasn't exactly a ray of sunshine. Alfonso Cuaron's version also starts with the credits first which is unusual for a modern day film. As the credits begin there is soft music with very exotic instruments such as a rainpie. The letters of people's names appears in a fluid pattern, which gives us a watery feeling. This s a good technique as it sets the audience up for the opening scene where things are not necessarily as they seem. The first thing the audience sees is the character of Finn Pip) looking at the fish and then climbing into the boat. Finn takes out a notebook and begins to draw. At this point there is virtually no tension as there is an ordinary boy who is playing in the sunshine and frankly looks quite happy. There is none of the heart tugging emotion that is apparent in Lean's black and white version. ...read more.


For example Cuaron's version had an American actor doing Finn's voiceover, it took away some of the reality of the film because I feel that 'Great Expectations' is so typically English. I can agree to some extent that both films had a strong opening which is essential in a film. The reason for this is because if there is a weak opening t the film you will not want to watch the rest of it; the same when reading a book if the first few chapters are not engaging you will not want to finish the book. Generally I preferred David Lean's version because it kept to the book. Maybe I might have differently if I hadn't read the book first, but the 1997 version deviated from the book so much that I was confused which character was meant to be which. Lea I felt was also much more effective in setting up the story. Although both films id follow a chronological order, David Lean's 1944 version kept very closely to the text where as the coloured version altered the location and dialogue of the novel. David Lean built up the tension first using sound effects I.e. wind and bustling trees, the dreariness of the marshes and using the numerous visions of death I.e. the jibbet and the crooked gravestones. I Sarah.Y.Kargbo Media Essay 11v ...read more.

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