Analyze the opening sequences of David Lean and Alfonso Cuaron's film version of 'Great Expectations' commenting in detail on the similarities and differences in their techniques and impact both have upon the audience.

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In this media assignment I shall be analyzing and comparing the similarities and differences of two famous directors’ film versions of ‘Great Expectations’. The two directors are David Lean and Alfonso Cuaron. David Lean’s version was more popular and well known than Alfonso Cuaron’s because Lean was the first director to actually direct ‘Great Expectations’. This made it more difficult for Alfonso Cuaron because he had to bring the film up to date by making the film more modern and there have also been 10 other films based on the novel ‘Great Expectations’. David Lean had directed his version of ‘Great Expectations’ in 1946 and Alfonso had directed his version in 1998.

Both film versions of ‘Great Expectations’ begin with the opening credits which let the audience know the producers, executive producers etc… the opening credits of both movies have some similarities and differences.

In Alfonso Cuaron’s version of ‘Great Expectations’ the credits are shown in a rippled effect, which gives the audience hints that the opening scene might be set in a beach or a place with water surrounding it, such as a port or harbur. In the background of the credits there are sketches of people and fishes, there is also a dark green background, which is symbolic of envy. The reaction of this towards the audience might be that the film could have scenes of a horror genre and a sinister atmosphere, which keeps them attracted to the film.

In David Lean’s version of ‘Great Expectations’ he reveals his opening credits with also the main characters, producers etc… the background shows clouds, which seems to look like smoke. There is also orchestral music, which is played in the background that changes from a cheerful piece of music to a more dramatic and sinister theme. This is revealing to the audience that the film fits into the horror genre and is giving the audience clues about what the film will include, such as an ominous atmosphere and scenes of violence and gore. Lean has created this mood and theme so that the audience would want to know what the film actually contains, whether it is horror or drama.

David Lean and Alfonso Cuaron are using the different techniques to keep the audience interested in the movie. The soundtrack of both versions is different because Alfonso Cuaron has played music throughout his opening frames. He has introduced sound effects such as waves that give the audience a pleasant sound to their ears; this same effect is employed with seagulls. The music that is actually played has a joyful and happy mood, which encourages the audience to think that the film is a non-violent film. But when Magwitch appears from underneath the water in the tenth frame and grabs Pip, at this point the music changes from joyful and happy to dramatic and shocking. Cuaron deliberately did this to shock and alarm the audience from a happy and cheerful atmosphere to an explicit and up-tempo atmosphere, this technique also keeps you interested in the film.

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On the other hand David Lean has only played music in his opening credits and left the rest of his opening without music but with sound effects such as, the howling wind, owls screeching, trees creaking and the scream from Pip. This gives the audience hints that something terrible is going to happen to Pip, so Lean is trying to create a sinister and ominous atmosphere. But the main aspect which Lean is concentrating on here is the fact that he is using the weather to create atmosphere, which also means that he been very faithful to the text of ...

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