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How do David Lean and Julian Jarrold use film techniques to influence the viewers response to the opening section of Great Expectations?

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Introduction

How do David Lean and Julian Jarrold use film techniques to influence the viewer's response to the opening section of Great Expectations? Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens in 1861 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written. I am going to study two film adaptations of the opening section of the book; one directed by David Lean in 1945 and the other, actually a television adaptation, directed by Julian Jarrold in 1999. With a gap of 54 years, a viewer's attitude to films has changed dramatically; therefore the directors' techniques have had to change also to match the demand of the audience. Also, with new technology, directors' these days can do a lot more with films than it was possible to do when David Lean directed Great Expectations in 1945. In my opinion, David Lean and Julian Jarrold have two different major aims in how they influence the viewer's response: David Lean focuses on the plot of the novel, whereas Julian Jarrold's main emphasis is on making the viewer experience the thrilling atmosphere of the story. As I have said, what a viewer wants to get out of seeing a film has changed dramatically between 1945 and 1999. Audiences generally expect films to contain more action, so obviously Jarrold's approach will be very different to that of David Lean. For instance, Lean uses a lot more dialogue than Jarrold, who in fact uses almost no dialogue. In addition to this, Lean is extremely true to the novel, and his use of dialogue shows this, using almost exactly the same text as Dickens' original direct speech. ...read more.

Middle

Lean uses this to influence the viewer's response as the viewer has more time to think about what is going on in each shot, thus they can understand more of the plot. Jarrold's frequent camera movement makes the film more exciting to the viewer, because it suggests a build up of pace and character's anxiety. Additionally, close-ups can build up excitement and pace, and the amount of camera shots used by each director is worth looking at. Lean uses very few close-up shots, with mostly medium shots being used, such as the medium shot of both characters when the convict turns Pip upside-down. Using a medium shot here means that the reader can definitely see what the convict is doing to Pip, so the viewer can have no doubts as to what is going on, illustrating again how Lean wants the viewer to understand the storyline. On the other hand, Jarrold uses a lot of close-ups, for example of Pip when he is hidden behind the grave. This makes Pip's emotions clearer by showing his face, as well as making him seem more vulnerable and insignificant. Associated with the amount of close-ups are other camera techniques, such as panning, tracking and zooming. Both directors use tracking of Pip, especially when he is running through the marshes or fields at the beginning of the section. This is obviously necessary, as he is running, so the camera would have to keep up with him, so the viewer knows what is happening. Jarrold uses some zooming effects too, for instance on Pip when he is running during the opening stages of the section. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both directors have very different techniques to influence the viewer. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the technological advances that have happened between 1945 and 1999, so sound effects and camera techniques have become more effective. As well as this, over fifty-four years of cinematography, viewers have 'greater expectations' of how exciting and impacting the opening of a film should be, so Jarrold must use techniques to match the demands of his viewers. Coinciding with this is the idea that directors are less concerned about changing novels in screen adaptations these days. In Lean's version, the film was almost true word for word to the dialogue of the novel, whereas Jarrold hardly uses the novel at all in the opening section. In my opinion, it is a good thing that great books like Great Expectations are being made available to more people through films but directors must keep the balance right, to make sure they do not 'dumb down' the novel, as this can remove the novel's value as a classic piece of literature. In summary, David Lean and Julian Jarrold have very different versions to the opening of the film of Great Expectations. David Lean wants the viewer to understand the plot fully, which he does by including a lot of dialogue, keeping true to the novel, having a steady pace and not much camera movement, whereas Jarrold is the opposite; he uses almost no dialogue, a fast pace and a lot of camera movement amongst other things, to allow the viewer to experience the scary, tense and exciting atmosphere. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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