Charles Dickens ' Great Expectations'

In this version I think that David Lean was trying to keep to the novel. He used lots of sound effects and a successful setting to help build the dramatic tension in the first scene. He does this by making the audience feel the actions by using sounds and setting, like the rustling of leaves like someone is behind you and the creaking of trees, that the audience would associate with an the atmosphere being created in the first scene.

At the beginning when Pip is walking past the gallows it immediately brings a frightening feeling into the film, the fact that Pip creeps over the graveyard wall makes it seem deceptive and this adds to the atmosphere.

I think the director was aiming to make it seem frightening by the atmosphere and was aiming for a direct interpretation of the book. The director had more ways to choose from, as the other had to be different, his version is text led.

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The second version was made in 1981 and is in colour although it looks very bland.

The title is very different it this version that the 1946 version, the title comes up in a black background in attractive writing. There is a table with a vase of flowers that are dead before the film starts. There is a sweet tune in the background unlike the 1946 version, which has nothing. This version starts off with a man, this man is the older Pip retelling what happened when he was a young boy.

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Then it goes on like the first version with Pip walking past the gallows, although it doesn’t seem as dangerous because we know that he is all right as he is telling us what happens.

Having the older Pip might makes the audiences feel safer as they know nothing is going to happen to him, this may diminish the tensions. The setting in this version is not as ominous as the first version, the sky is still gloomy and we can tell that easier in this version than the first one because of the colour, even though it is very bland you can still see the gloominess in the sky. It is still in set in the graveyard and you can still see the moors in the surroundings, the graveyard is more overgrown and it is more enclosed with nowhere to escape, which also makes it feel intimidating like the first version.

Sound in this version is more realistic than the first version but there is less of it so it is less atmospheric and isn’t as effective but some people thinks it’s better because it sounds more life like. It still has the wind in the background but you cannot hear it as well as you can in the first version. Magwitch in this version has a deep ruff voice and speaks in a whisper to avoid being heard or when he realises what Pip is doing there he speaks in a whisper so he is not as harsh on Pip. Pip’s voice is like the voice in the first version, innocent and childish to make him seem vulnerable.

This would make the audiences think that Magwitch’s wasn’t as bad as they first thought, when his voices changes, it makes then feel a bit sorry for Magwitch and they don’t think he us as bad. Pip’s costume was tidy and he looked well cared for, like the first version his clothes were not very good quality. Magwitch’s clothes are completely rags and when you see him you are inclined to feel sorry towards him. The principal of theses clothes are the same as those in the first version. It shows that Pip has poor clothes but is well cared for and Magwitch has rags for clothes and shackles around his feet to show his is a criminal.

As mentioned before bland colour was used in this version as technology had advanced further than the first version, although their isn’t much of it is still used quite effectively, not using too much colour limited effects they could of had but not every one had colour TV’s, So the film was still a bit black and white. The colour may have been used deliberately because it makes it look like it is trying to hide something, like what is happening in the film. The lighting was like the first version, they had gloomy light at the beginning for they sky, colour was enhancing the sky.

Their were shadows of light and colour in the second version more than in the first version which makes it more realistic and gives the watcher more to look at which helps build the atmosphere and dramatic tension. In the second version the camera doesn’t show the whole of Magwitch’s face it just focuses on his eyes which makes him look more terrifying which leaves you thinking what it all look likes, it also adds to the tension because it doesn’t tell you the whole picture. The same basic camera techniques were the same in the first and second version, they both showed Pip on his own then, both of the characters separate and then together.

The director of the second version we studied make his version different to the first one, this might be because he though people might think he had copied. He also had two main advantages having the first version he could use it to enhance his ideas and to improve his film, he could highlight the parts he didn’t like and change them to make it better. Also because he had colour he could use it to set the scene which helps create the atmosphere. I think that all thought the director wanted his to be different to the first version he still wanted to have a quite direct interpretation of the novel.

The main difference was having the older Pip telling what happened. I don’t think the director meant to make you feel less involved but I think having the older Pip put a character in between the main two characters so it makes it less effective, because of this I think this makes it harder to be part of the atmosphere making it less dynamic than the first version. The final version we studied was produced in 1999 it has bold colours unlike the other two. This version starts very different to the other two versions, it doesn’t start with a title it goes straight into the film.

It starts with a boy in a cornfield, he is panting and than he is running, when he running he keeps looking over his shoulder as if someone is following him, having Pip panting it tells you he has been running and him looking over his shoulder makes the audiences feel like there is someone their. He goes into the graveyard, and then it changes and has a small title that blends into the setting so it’s not as bold. After this it shows him with his sister who argues and shouts and him till the blacksmith Pip lives with, as well, comes in.

It then shows Pip in bed were he has flashback, which show what happens it the graveyard. The setting is very different to the others because most of it is in different places. In the cornfield you can see some of the corn is trampled down as a result it looks like someone else is there, this builds up the tension. Also the corn is very high and Pip cannot see over to top, which makes it seem like he is trapped and unable to go anywhere. Having the corn like this makes the audiences feel trapped as well because they cannot see over the corn either.

When Pip is running you can see the corn hitting him in the face that makes it seem like the corn is attacking him, it also hits the camera as if it is hitting the audiences, it feel like it will leap out of the film making the audiences part of the action. As the part of the graveyard is in the flashbacks it harder to look at the setting in the graveyard, but you still see some parts of it, as it is in a flashback, the parts you do see you see very quickly then it goes back to Pip in bed, this build the anticipation of the audience to see what will happen.

Having the flashbacks of the graveyard already give you an eerie feeling, you can tell it is quite overgrown like the other two versions and it’s empty as well giving you the same tens feeling as before. The sound is used very effectively in this version. It starts off with silence apart from Pip’s fast breathing that already tells you he is scared about something, you can hear his feet when he is running on the ground which tells you that he is disparate to get away, also the eerie music tells you something is going to happen.

Music wasn’t used in the other version, they used descriptive sounds, I think a bit off both helps to build a better atmosphere. There is birds in the sky and this seems to remind Pip of the event in the graveyard and when ever he hears the sound of the it reminds him, that’s what they symbolised in the film, in doing this when ever the audiences hears the birds in the film they will associated it with the graveyard scene. They are wearing traditions clothes for the time the book is set in. Pip’s family are wearing quite poor clothes but they still have all the clothes they need.

This tells the audiences that they have enough money for what they need. The parts when we see Magwitch, you don’t really get to see what he is wearing you see his shackles, which tell you he is a criminal, like the other two versions, but you don’t really get to see what his clothes looked like but you don’t need to know because from the shackles and the look on his face tells the audiences that he is a criminal. The colours very bold and bright, this assists us to see the mood of the places as there isn’t much sound but it doesn’t need the sound to show us the wind or the scary sounds because the colours does that instead.

The colour helps to show the audiences important things like the time of day and the weather, this is good because peoples perspective changes depending on the time of day and what the weather is like, the later in the day and the more miserable the weather the more frightening they find it. As technology had advance they were able to have much more exciting camera angles because the cameras would have been smaller and they could have been taken to places like a cornfield to film that would have made it more realistic, also it could move more easily, for example they could follow some one while they were running with it.

To start with the camera is focused on Pip so that is the only thing you are thinking of, you are also taking in the breathing that is building the tension. Then when Pip is running the camera is following Pip and it makes you feel like you are the person being followed, the camera is moving up and down so you feel part of the action. Fast paining is used to show the scenery but it’s hard to take it in so you don’t really know your surroundings making it more melodramatic. When Pip is having the flashbacks it changes angles quickly, which gives a sense of movement to the audiences.

In this version the director had to make it different to the other versions so it was less of a direct interpretation than the others that had been true to the novel. To do this the director has approach the first scene for a different angle. Involving Pip’s sister and making seem evil has moved some of the evilness from Magwitch and made Pip seem vulnerable in a different way. Involving the blacksmith also makes Pip seem safe because he would be a good protector because he is pleasant it seems that Pip has got someone really kind to look after him.

Having the flashbacks of what happens makes it seem really important and that Pips thinking of it so it also suggests that something’s going to happen because of it. Out of the three versions we studied, they are all effective in different way, because the 1946 version was done first people portray it as the best, but as film technology develops people prefer the latest one produced. The 1946 version is the most atmospheric and the 1999 version is the one you can get the most involved with, but each version is different to the one made before or after it.

Each version involves the audiences different amounts and in different ways. Each director had different intentions, which helped create a different understanding of the novel as a film. Every different part of the films has different colours, sound, costumes, lighting, and camera angles, which is what makes the three versions different, some vary more than others, like the first version and the last versions are very different where as the first and the second versions are quite similar.

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Charles Dickens ' Great Expectations'. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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