Comparing the Opening Scenes of Two Film Versions of Great Expectations

Comparing the Opening Scenes of Two Film Versions of Great Expectations
Great Expectations is one of the greatest novels in the ?book world?, which follows the life story of ?Pip?. Great Expectations was one of the best Dickens novels. It is known all over the world. It is translated in other languages so people everywhere can enjoy the work of Dickens. The story is about a boy called Pip. He is an orphan boy left with no one but his evil sister (or that?s the way he sees it). He is shown as an innocent and somewhat naive young boy who is a little immature. ?I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly? We learn much more about Pip throughout the story and follow him on his journey to become his dream of a perfect gentleman to gain social class. The book was followed by 2 main films. One was directed in 1944 by David Lean. This was the first adaptation of the book into film since the book had been written in Dickens time. This film was then replaced by the bbc version in 1997, as it was meant to of been ?improved?. The big age gap in the two films has a big role in the films.This is because in 1944 something that was considered then to be the latest technology in filming then would be old school to the people of 1997. So the amount of available technology plays a role in the camera shots, colour, special effects and scenery. Both of them create tension but which one does it best? The first scene in the novel is used to introduce the main characters and tell us (audience) about the setting and scenery. The mood created within the opening of the scene is negative and a little tense. The novel begins with a dramatic opening on the bleak, boring Kentish marches. This sets the tone immediately. The setting moves from the opening Kent marshes to the dull graveyard. The grave yard is described ?Bleak place, overgrown with nettles.? This setting its self causes the story tension because it is dark and mysterious. So both films have a great starting point to use and elaborate the dialogue and the text to create more tension. In the book Dickens uses the scenery to its greatest by creating tension by using gallows. (Structures that people got hung on) This cause?s great tension because this gives the audience the feeling of death is in the air. This could symbolise that as Pip is going past each gallow a part of his old life is dying away and he is leaving his old life for a new one. The idea of the story was also a good idea because a marsh land gives the mind a felling of something getting swallowed up. This might reflect Pips old life getting swallowed up. The atmosphere in the novel overall is tense and scary. The David Lean version is a great example of showing tension through great directing. The David Lean version is very similar to the text of the original novel written by Dickens. It is nearly a complete copy of the book just put into a script and read out with great emotions. In 1944 the sound effects were almost minimal in all films so the director relied of great emotion of the actor?s voice. Magwitch is a good example of this, because the actor of Magwitch puts in a lot of effort and of a result of this hard work produces tension through his voice. David Lean uses a lot of close up shots through out the first scene. Each close up shot allows us to look at the emotion the actor is portraying. This causes the audience tension because it does not allow the audience to see what is going on around the character so the audience does not know whether if a man is about to come up on screen an cut Pip?s throat. Also a face tells us a huge amount of characters feelings and so it gives the mind a challenge of working out if something is wrong. This causes tension. David Lean uses new technology such as tracking shots and point of view shots these have been used in the first scene well to create tension. As Pip runs through the marsh land the camera follows him this new camera shot is called a tracking shot. This shot of tracking may have been used to show that a Magwich may have been watching Pip as he ran by waiting for him to fall into his little trap. This causes the audience to move in their seats and as the audience may get a little restless to se what will happen to Pip at the next film cut. The new point of view shot is also used to cause tension. This shot is used on shot number 6. This new camera shot is used to show how small and naïve Pip really is. Pip is shown as a small and naïve because as the camera is shot as Pips view everything is towering over him showing he is small and he may feel he has the weight of the world on his small shoulders. It also shows he is naïve because Pip sees the tree as a face. Both of these shots cause tension because you wonder, how can such a small boy cope in this setting and what will happen to this innocent young soul next? The feature of black and white film gives the film an extra feeling of darkness and tension. It gives the characters more character and gives the audience the felling of darkness and gives a slight shiver down your back. But you can?t make this feature a huge thing because if you where to go back to 1944 this would have been normal and this would of not been any more special or out of the ordinary than normal. The sound effects on the Davis Lean version are used to cause great tension. He does this by having the sound effect of howling wind. This does cause the audience tension because it gives you the feeling of a cold felling down your spine making you produce testosterone and this makes you have the feeling of that something is not right for Pip and he may be in danger. Creaking is also used in the sound effects to synthesize the sound of tree swaying vigorously in the wind. This causes tension because it gives the feeling of that it may fall and his Pip so you start to feel involved with the character. All these techniques of David Leans directing skills produce a good film producing tension. All of these cause the audience to react one way or another. Whether it is to feel sorry for Pip or feel scared for him. The 1997 is unique in every way. It has no dialogue except the phrase ?Mummy, Mummy?. So you can?t say it kept similar to the original text. The bbc version keeps you guessing through out the whole scene, it is made to make your mind think and make you work out the mystery. This technique of the guessing game would have been useless if it was not for the advance of technology in the film world. This technique is a very good way of creating tension because you are not being feed the information that is needed to get the grasp of the film and so you are made to work it out causing tension because you don?t know what is going on. The first scene is totally different to the first scene in the novel because it starts off in a golden corn field. This is not true to the novel as it is meant to start of in the bleak Kentish marshes. It does go into the marshes at the end of the scene though. This may have been used because it shows Pips life as golden and then once Pip has meet Magwitch his life has turned scary and unpredictable. In the corn field the new technology is used. Slow motion is used as Pip is running from a un- known thing. The fact that the thing that is after Pip is un- know its self causes great tension to build up because you are wanting to know what it is. Slow motion is used to show Pip?s reactions in greater detail so you can see that Pip is scared of what is running at him and so this cases extra tension. Through this section of slow motion the sound cuts off only to hear the constant speeding up of Pip?s heart beat. This causes tension because it shows Pip is scared, but what is it that he is scared of? This is great piece of sound effects because it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. This is an example of taking great advantage of assessable new technology and using it to its full potential. The directors? skill in this film is phenomenal because it has caused tension through sight and not hearing. A great example of this great direction is found on camera shot 16. This is when Magwich captures little Pip and we are able to see what has been causing Pip to run. When Magwitch dies catch Pip who see his face and then the shot cuts into a picture of geese taking flight. This gives the impression that there has been a disturbance. This signals that end of the scene so it keeps the audience gripped and wanting more. This causes a huge amount of tension. Both films have taken very different approaches of tackling the film in creating tension. One has tried to keep to the original text and the other has changed it completely. Both have achieved in producing tension. Filming in colour and filming in black & white has its pro?s and con?s. The David Lean version decided to go with black & white, but this was only because this was the only available choice and so they has to be content with this and make the best film possible using black and white. Black & white does have it good points. Producing a film in black & white does increase an extra sense of tension because it feels that the world is dark and bleak and so made the audience feel scared for Pip. Colour has it pro?s because it can be used to show a characters true sense of feelings. It is also good because it shows the world as its true self and not through a dated piece of technology?s eyes. The David Lean version is most closely related to the original text. It is virtually identical to the original text. This does give it a sense of security that it will create tension because you know that the original version will have tension. The bbc version is more daring because it is so different from the text. This is more of a risk because you have to create tension else where if there is not text and the bbc has done just that. I think that the bbc is the best at creating tension. I think that actions are greater than words and so I think that even though the bbc version has no text it still manages to create tension so great you can?t measure it. I just love the slow motion part because it is s true of how things work. If you are scared you try and block out the surrounding sound and try and listen to something specific and the bbc version shows just that. The bbc version keeps you guessing and so it keeps the mind on the task at hand and I think this created more tension is you are told what is going on. My favourite bit though was how it started in golden fields maybe showing how innocent and lovely Pips life was, and then one caught the camera does a landscape shot showing the dull, dark marshes, this showing Pips old life is over and a new mysterious life begins.

Comparing the Opening Scenes of Two Film Versions of Great Expectations 8.2 of 10 on the basis of 4339 Review.