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Consider how David Lean creates an atmosphere of fear and suspense in the opening sequence of ‘Great Expectations’.

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  • Essay length: 2429 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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GCSE Great Expectations

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Consider how David Lean creates an atmosphere of fear and suspense in the opening sequence of 'Great Expectations'.

In a society dominated by technology, it is now possible for anyone to buy a camera and make a film. It is also becoming increasingly easy to create realistic special effects using computers and digital cameras. In 1946 when David Lean shot 'Great Expectations', he had neither expensive software nor previous film interpretations to help him. However, he nevertheless manages to combine both images and sound to manipulate and evoke emotion in his audience.

The opening shot is a close-up of the first page of the novel, followed by a gust of wind and the pages flicking over. This informs the viewer that the film is an adaptation of a book, and links the first and second shots together. It also gives the viewer an idea of the weather in the opening sequence. There are also some strangely-shaped shadows falling on the book, which make it appear as if someone is standing close by. This adds an eerieness to the shot and may represent the darker parts of Pip's life that lie ahead, like meeting Magwitch, for example.

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