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Comparing the ways in which tension and suspense is created in the opening sequences of David Lean's 1946 & Julian Jarrold's 1999 interpretation of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

Comparing the ways in which tension and suspense is created in the opening sequences of David Lean's 1946 & Julian Jarrold's 1999 interpretation of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens In David Lean's 1946 interpretation of "Great Expectation" Pip is portrayed as a small, smart, clean young boy, as he will be considered more innocent and vulnerable to the audience. Pip's fair hair colour against the darkening background makes the audience think that he is an angelic like figure. Lean shows the vast landscape with tall-silhouetted gibbets to indicate just how small and vulnerable Pip is running across the marshland. When Pip goes to visit and weed the grave of his parents, Lean shows this particularly to gain the audience's sympathy. The audience hears everything that Pip hears and this helps us to understand his apprehension. The scream is shocking and makes us see his fear to his meeting with the convict. When he is being threatened, Pip's overwhelming politeness and naivety, despite the life-threatening situation he is in, makes the audience feel a great deal of sympathy for him. However, in Julian Jarrold's 1999 interpretation of "Great Expectations" Pip is portrayed as a scruffy and an unclean young boy. This image gains the audience's sympathy as we can tell that he is mistreated at home. Jarrold's Pip has dark hair; and although he is not seen as an angelic and innocent figure. ...read more.

Middle

The golden reeds add to the peaceful tranquillity of the first shot, and therefore relax the viewer. Jarrold uses his own ideas and makes the opening more intriguing and exciting. At the beginning we have no idea what is going to happen and because of this Pip's running come as a shock, and therefore has more impact. This provides the audience with an immediate incentive to continue watching. We then follow the dramatic chase that Jarrold has constructed through a wheat field and the graveyard. Jarrold's use of point-of-view shots give the audience a chance to feel more involved in the film and to help them to feel the confusion of the chase. The wheat field itself is Jarrold's own notion and is not mentioned anywhere in the written novel. However, this really helps to show Pip is trying to hide but that he cannot escape. David Lean chooses to display his elaborate title and credit sequence before any screenplay is seen. This would most likely have been because the audience of his time would have expected this. They would feel that once a film had started, it had really started. His elaborate title uses a very old fashioned and ostentatious font, which is very fitting of the film. The sound in Lean's opening sequence uses music from that is very dramatic and up lifting which helps to confirm this film as an epic. ...read more.

Conclusion

The sun is shown in the sky to be setting. From this one shot we are told a lot about the setting because we can tell it is now late evening and also a lot of tension is created, due to the red sky. The scenery of the birds is then faded and the scene blends into the next, which is back to the bleak marshland with the high-pitched haunting music and titles. In the Lean's version, some of the techniques used, such as the point-of-view shot of the knot in the tree, are very innovative and, probably, quite unusual for such an old film. A modern audience, particularly a younger one, might not be so moved by this film, as nowadays we are constantly being bombarded with special effects and computer graphics, but an audience in that time would certainly have been captivated from the moment the film began. Jarrold's version is more for a modern audience. This is because it is in colour, and not too many people like black and white films if they have the option of colour. Also, they are spoiled with digital effects, and state of the art technology helps any to give it that extra enhancement. I personally prefer David Lean's version it because it had a much bigger effect compared to the other version, with the gloominess and death in every scene due to the colours and had a much better explaining scene with Pip and the convict in the graveyard. ...read more.

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