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Compare the Techniques Used in the Opening of Two Screen Versions of 'great Expectations' by Charles Dickens

Essay by   •  February 24, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,235 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,392 Views

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Compare the techniques used in the opening of two screen

versions of 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens

The openings of the two scenes are presented differently but obviously convey the same meaning. The black and white version is longer and shows more detail than the coloured version. The sequence of events is the same but the black and white version takes more time. This may be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on what the viewer feels.

A good aspect of both films is the use of music. Music helps build up a climax if it's the right sort of music. The black and white version is older so the music to me did not seem as good as the coloured version yet it did build up a lot of suspense and I think for people watching it when it first came out would be impressed with the choice of music. The music in the coloured film is more impressive to me as it is bolder and louder.

The camera techniques are more developed in the coloured film probably because camera shots had become more sophisticated. It shows the viewer the setting clearer and because of the use of colour. Both versions show the build up in the graveyard when Pip is confronted by the convict like the book does. This is good because when reading the book, I thought Dickens use of words and language really brought about the build up of mystery and suspense and this is what happens in both screen versions. It is a dramatic scene and I feel both versions were equally good.

Both versions used similar and different techniques to convey tension. In the black and white version, the use of fog, footsteps, breathing and howling wind were excellent in building up the suspense. In the coloured version some of the same techniques were used to build up to the meeting with the convict but I feel they aren't as good as the black and white version. Another similarity is the use of birds. The birds were in both films. You saw the birds fly away in a big flock and this normally suggests that danger is about. The sound of birds was also included in both films for the same reason, subject of danger. In the black and white version there was the use of subconscious thoughts like the cows. This wasn't used in the coloured version and I didn't feel it needed to be used. The black and white version uses female voices for cows to show Pips conscience. To me, it seemed childish to use cows with female voices and ruined a bit of the build up of suspense. Chains can be identified with imprisonment and the sound of chains clanging together is another technique used to convey tension. It is used in both films to hear the sound of the convicts. Heavy breathing is used in both versions, when Pip is running. This suggests panic or desperation and adds to the tension. In the black and white version when Pip is running there is a lot of fog around him. Fog suggests the unexpected as you can't see what is around you or in front of you. This is a difference between the two versions and I think the use of fog really adds to convey tension as fog also has a gothic feel about it which relates to it being in a graveyard.

When Pip comes home to his sister, he is beaten harshly in the black and white version. When Pip returns home, his 'father' warns him about his sister taking 'tickler' out when she was looking for him. This is a slight build up of tension as you know something bad is about to happen. When Pip's sister storms into the house the slamming of door adds tension and then the camera doesn't show Pip getting a whipping. The sound of the whip is haunting and just hearing Pip is pain is another device that is used to convey tension.

In the black and white version when Pip is creeping downstairs to steal the pork pie, there is the sound of creaking floor boards and soft foot steps. The use of the slight sound suggests that another character could have heard what was happening and come into the scene but this doesn't happen. It leaves

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