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Media Essay Comparing the way tension is created in the

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Media Essay Comparing the way tension is created in the Two film versions of the Novel "Great Expectations" The novel "Great Expectation" by Charles Dickens is considered to be one of the classics of the English literary heritage. Even though it was written in the nineteenth century, its message is still relevant, and people still enjoy the story. This story allows people to escape the world that they live in and takes them to another era, via Dickens' effective story telling. Numerous film adaptations of this novel have been made throughout the years, some as effective as the book and others not so effective. I am going to focus on the 1944 black and white film version of the novel directed by David Lean and the more recent colour film 1997 directed by Alfonso Cuaron, featuring Ethan Hawk, Gwynneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro. I will compare the opening chapter of the book and how this was portrayed in the two films. In this opening chapter, young Philip Pirrip (Pip), the main character encounters a rough convict who is a vision of terror in his eyes. Later on this convict proves to be a very significant figure in Pip's life. This first chapter of the book which is the opening of the film is of outmost importance as it prepares the readers and the viewers for later events. ...read more.


Not a lot of people believe that the 1997 version was more effective and in fact out of eighteen people only six agreed that the 1997 version was more successful in forming tension. I personally disagree and believe that the 1944 version was more successful as it fabricated tension through the landscape and even before the convict appears the audience are on the edge of their seats and apprehensive as to what will happen next. In the 1997 version once the audience recover from unexpected appearance of Magwitch and grasp the fact that it is a person who has grabbed Pip all the tension is snuffed out and nothing else made much of an impression on me. Even though I'm sure that the both directors tried their best to make a tense atmosphere that leaves the audience wanting to know more, I thought that David Lean was more successful in building that wall of tension. In both films the appearance of Magwitch is a pivotal point and is in fact an explosion of tension. This appearance is especially important in the 1997 version as there has been no tension until this point of the movie and the success of the movie all depends on this sudden burst of tension. Robert De Niro who plays Magwitch materializes out of the water and grips Finn. This sudden appearance in the quiet and tranquil surroundings makes him appear more frightening and threatening as he has already shattered the peacefulness. ...read more.


of them before I watched the movie and I am sure if I come across a movie with Finlay Currie cast in a different role I would still think of hi as Abel Magwitch. People usually go to movies to escape their reality for a brief spell of time, the fact that David Lean chose to have his cast wearing Victorian customs makes it easier for the audience to feel transported into another era easier than the 1997 version where the director chose to have the costumes modernized along with everything else. On the whole I think that David Leans version of Great Expectations was more successful in creating tension and suspense. The fact that the movie is in black and white and that it portrays grim and harsh surroundings as opposed to the beautiful and sunny location of the 1997 version of the film where it was very hard for me to feel the slightest bit of tension although there was a considerable amount produced by the sudden appearance of the convict I didn't feel it was enough or that it did any justice to the book which in my opinion is one of the best ever written and nowadays I often come across writers who have tried to reproduce novels the same way Dickens did. I preferred the 1944 David Lean version because I felt it did justice to the book and gratified my expectations in creating a cataclysm of mounting tension. Niloofar Bozorgi 10R 1 ...read more.

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