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"How successfully have the film makers created both sympathy and suspense in their representation of Frankenstein's creature?"

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Introduction

James Lane 10R "How successfully have the film makers created both sympathy and suspense in their representation of Frankenstein's creature?" In this essay I will be exploring the way in which two film directors create sympathy and suspense in the representation of Frankenstein as his creature. I will be looking into the two versions of "Frankenstein" in detail; the two versions my essay is going to be based on are; "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" which was made in 1994 and directed by Kenneth Branagh and the original "Frankenstein" which was made in 1931 was directed by James Whale. I will review how sympathy and suspense are created by looking at how the two directors use different types of media techniques to portray this. I will consider the use of music; this may be useful for the directors to create suspense and sometimes sympathy with. I will look at the use of special effects; this will only really be shown in the later version of "Frankenstein" by Kenneth Branagh as special effects wouldn't have been used in 1931. I will also look at the location and setting of some of the main scenes and investigate how effectively the location is used to add to the suspense and sympathy. I will look at the range of camera angles the director's use and assess how well they are used. Costume and make-up too are very big parts of the film especially for Frankenstein's creature because the right facial effects and expressions are essential to create the amount of sympathy needed to grab the audience's attention, and finally I will see how well the mis-en-scene is represented, the mis-en-scene is everything that can be seen in the background of a shot; we see the best use of the mis-en-scene when Victor is in his laboratory making the creature come to life. The story was based on an old ghost story in Switzerland, which was made into a novel in 1818 and then incorporated into films. ...read more.

Middle

body and when he runs back to the box as this is happening the build up of suspense becomes bigger as we wait to see if the creature is still alive. As he looks over the porthole he sees the eyes of the creature have closed and his head drops and he walks away, at this point all the suspense that was in this scene has gone, the music has quietened and has left us with a solitary room with one person walking away. The next scene is very interesting as Branagh uses hands as a sign of life. As Victor walks away there is a loud bang which creates suspense and tension. He looks around and we see the hand moving in the porthole. He uses a hand because we normally associate the movement of hands with life. So Branagh is symbolising the birth of this creature by using its hands. After this the creature starts to move wildly in the box Victor rushes over to the box to open the top, as he open the top the top flies way on the other side of the laboratory leaving amniotic fluid sprayed everywhere. The creature is still inside the box and we see Victor creeping up to the box; this creates suspense for the audience because we want to know what is going to happen. As Victor looks over the edge of the box the creature springs up at him and they both fall to the floor. We then see the close up shot of when they are holding hands trying to stand up in the amniotic fluid. We see a close up of the hands clenched together; this creates sympathy for both Victor and the creature. The hands clasped together gives the impression of love and care and respect for each other. Whereas in the Whale version we see the creature wrapped up in clothes when the experiment is about to commence, around the laboratory we see a lot of electrical equipment which makes the experiment seem more real this is the director using the mis-en-scene to its best ability again. ...read more.

Conclusion

Branagh and Whale use different ways of creating sympathy and suspense. In the Kenneth Branagh version suspense and sympathy are presented much better than the James Whale version. Kenneth Branagh represents suspense and sympathy much better than Whale. He does this by creating a build up of events, which on their own create fear and uncertainty about what is going to happen next. There are many events that give the audience uncertainty in the Branagh version, such as when the creature disappears from the chains and standing up next to Victor's bed, or when the creature is lying in the coffin and Victor goes up to it and the creature springs out. Suspense can also be created by giving the audience an element of surprise about what happens next. You are usually kept in suspense by events, which are unusual and are usually unpredictable and unexpected. This keeps your mind active and trying to guess what is going to happen. Also description of location, moods and situation all adds to build suspense before anything actually happens because it captures people's imagination. I think this is best done in the Whale version as the camera pans around the old mill. Sympathy is created by engaging the audience and developing a rapport or an understanding of person's predicament or situation. In other words you can start to imagine what it feels like to be that person and their feelings and emotions, all of which creates empathy. When sympathy is created you start to put yourself in that persons shoes because you can relate to the situation they are in or perhaps have experienced similar circumstances and feelings. James Whale version was lacking in modern day attributes such as special effects, lighting and costumes and clothing. But the horror content in the James Whale version is more scary than in the Kenneth Branagh version as it is more creepy in black and white instead of colour. Overall I think Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the film is better because it has all the attributes to create a good film. ...read more.

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