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Look closely at Jonathan Harker’s journey to Dracula’s Castle. How does the director give the impression of danger?

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John Hepworth Look closely at Jonathan Harker's journey to Dracula's Castle. How does the director give the impression of danger? In this assignment I will be analysing a 7-8 minute clip of the film 'Dracula - love never dies' which was directed by the famous director Francis Ford Coppola whose other famous films include: 'The Godfather Trilogy' and 'Apocalypse Now' and I will be commenting on how the director gives us the impression Jonathan is in danger. It is a horror film and had its general cinema release in 1992. It is based on the book 'Count Dracula' which was written 1897 by Bram Stoker. The clip I am studying is Jonathan Harker's (Keanu Reeves) journey to the castle of Count Dracula. Jonathan is a lawyer who works in London, his fianc�e Mina (Winona Ryder) was married in a past life to Dracula (Gary Oldman). Dracula is immortal and has lived ever since the death of Mina. Dracula finds out Mina is engaged to Jonathan and calls the company Jonathan works for to enquire about buying a property in London in the hope he will get Mina back. He keeps Jonathan at his castle until Mina comes looking for him. Jonathan is unaware of this because he believes he is going to Transylvania on a business trip. The director uses: setting, camera shots and the sound track to create a sense of danger around Jonathan. Jonathan's journey begins by train, travelling from the East into the West. Then he leaves the train where he is picked up by coach and left in a remote place, then taken by a strange 'creature' to Dracula's castle. ...read more.


Again we see Mina wearing a brown plain dress. The director chose to put her in these clothes to show that she is depressed because Jonathan was sent away and that she is lonely. In the background is a window and from the window we can see that it is raining. If the director had made the weather outside sunny and warm, then the scene would not be as effective because the weather makes the scene look glum. In the room is an old fashioned typewriter, which Mina is using. The room is cluttered with everyday objects and is very dark. Mina picks up a frame with a photograph of Jonathan in it. At the bottom of the frame you can see Mina's hand. She is clutching the frame very tightly this could be seen as a metaphor, that Mina doesn't want to let Jonathan go. Then we go back to what we presume is Jonathan because we see a very dark scene with a horse and carriage moving across the screen. Although the scene has changed completely, we can still hear the soft music and then hear Mina's voice say, "It must be so nice to see strange countries. I wonder if we, I mean Jonathan and I, will ever see them together?" When Mina corrects herself at the end of the sentence it makes the audience believe that there could be somebody else and because of what the audience knows about the film, we presume this to be Dracula so the audience know something is wrong. The coach is moving left to right across the screen and then we see a medium shot low angle shot of the driver. ...read more.


Blue rings rise from the ground as the horses enter the castle grounds. The rings look and sound like a rush of gas or electricity. We see a shot through the rings, of the horse and carriage. We get the impression that Dracula is strange because he has strange things about him: The eerie blue light, the eye watching Jonathan and the castle shaped like somebody sitting watching over the landscape. Then we see a close up of Jonathan looking at the rings with a look of curiosity on his face. Then we can hear the mechanism of the gates as they start to close. The gates appear to look like claws, closing and trapping Jonathan in. Then there is a clash as the gates go together, followed by a period of silence in which the audience is left to ponder what could be in store for Jonathan. In this assignment I looked at Jonathan Harker's journey to Dracula's castle. I looked at how Coppala created a sense of danger around Jonathan by using camera angles, background music and special effects. The director uses lighting, wolves and an orange sky to make the audience think Jonathan is in danger, and an eye, which seems to be watching Jonathan on numerous occasions throughout the clip. The eye in the peacock's feather, the eye on the map and the eye when he's on the train are just a few of the incidents, which create a sense of danger. I think that Coppala does a good job in creating the sense of danger because the audience still thinks something is not right about Jonathan's journey. At the end of the clip Coppala uses the claw shaped gates to give us the impression that Jonathan is trapped which I think is very effective. 3 2 ...read more.

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