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Review Of two screen adaptations Of 'Great Expectations'.

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Introduction

Louise O'Neill 01/05/07 GCSE Bitesize Review Of two screen adaptations Of 'Great Expectations' For a GCSE Bitesize Magazine David Lean's production of Great Expectations was created in 1946 and was originally written by Charles Dickens in 1860. Later, in 1999, Julian Jarrold directed Tony Merchant's dramatisation of Great Expectations. The openings of both films would appear to be similar, however in their own individual ways each opening is portraying its own powerful images to represent the novel. Camera work, lighting, setting, dialogue and sound effects are all applied to create the startlingly different effects in both adaptations of the novels. David Lean's 1946 adaptation would appear to be more of a horror-based narrative whereas Julian Jarrold's utilises realism. In the period around 1946 horror entertainment was frequently used in films. Examples such as 'House of Dracula' and 'House of Horrors' may have reflected David Lean's approach to his production of the novel. However later he was known for his epic films and ground- breaking cinematography. The openings in both adaptations are very different due to the techniques each director has used. Both of the films openings are set in a churchyard yet travel there in very different ways. ...read more.

Middle

Pip is dressed well in a scarf and jacket and looks clean. His hair is blonde and tidy so he doesn't look homeless or unkempt. When Magwitch speaks to him Pip doesn't freeze, this shows Pip's na�ve nature. He answers him politely and talks clearly, answering him fully with no nervousness coming through in his voice. Magwitch however is dressed in dark clothes and many of the camera shots are focused on his chains as he tips Pip upside down. The emphasis on the chains indicates to the audience that he may be dangerous and could be a danger to young Pip. In addition he may have escaped from somewhere as if he were animal to be locked up. After Pip and Magwitch depart, Pip runs home and the same shot is repeated as in the opening of Pip running across the marshes past the gallows, which is a good effect. Jarrold's approach is quite different. The first shot shows Pip's head ducking up from a cornfield with a terrified expression and hawk like eyes. Then edits to a panning shot as Pip runs through the cornfields. The camera is chasing Pip from the view of Magwitch as he sees Pip running from him, which is very effective. ...read more.

Conclusion

For both of the productions I think the films are suitable for children of eight years and upwards with a PG rating as its violence could disturb children with out their parents. In both adaptations the overall message relies upon many stereotypes. One clear example is that a convict would be a bad person not a kind loving man. The strong contrasts made between Magwitch and Pip are created in so many different ways by the use of clothing, lighting, camera shots and dialogue. However all these strong differences between the two characters makes it a little to clich�d to be realistic. Both openings are very effective in creating an atmosphere of fear and mystery. In both films each opening would make a viewer want to watch more, particularly in the 1999 film when you cannot see the face of Magwitch just his chained ankles, which fits the convention of horror and mystery. The 1946 film brings the novel to life magically. The repetitive shots work really well and the contrasted lighting on Pip and Magwitch create a great atmosphere. The 1999 film improvises the book and creates a different storyline, which has the same functions. Both film adaptations whether they are 53 years apart or not, both illustrate similar messages of stereotypes, significant roles and emotions of the two characters. ...read more.

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