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In this essay I will be exploring the way in which two film directors create sympathy and suspense in the representation of Frankenstein as his creature. I will be looking into the two versions of “Frankenstein” in detail; the two versions my essay is going to be based on are; “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” which was made in 1994 and directed by Kenneth Branagh and the original “Frankenstein” which was made in 1931 was directed by James Whale. I will review how sympathy and suspense are created by looking at how the two directors use different types of media techniques to portray this.
I will consider the use of music; this may be useful for the directors to create suspense and sometimes sympathy with. I will look at the use of special effects; this will only really be shown in the later version of “Frankenstein” by Kenneth Branagh as special effects wouldn’t have been used in 1931. I will also look at the location and setting of some of the main scenes and investigate how effectively the location is used to add to the suspense and sympathy.
I will look at the range of camera angles the director’s use and assess how well they are used.
Costume and make-up too are very big parts of the film especially for Frankenstein’s creature because the right facial effects and expressions are essential to create the amount of sympathy needed to grab the audience’s attention, and finally I will see how well the mis-en-scene is represented, the mis-en-scene is everything that can be seen in the background of a shot; we see the best use of the mis-en-scene when Victor is in his laboratory making the creature come to life.
The story was based on an old ghost story in Switzerland, which was made into a novel in 1818 and then incorporated into films.
In Mary Shelly’s adaptation of the story, the story begins when Victor’s mother dies giving birth and Victor sets out to see if a dead person can be brought back to life by changing organs or things that maybe prevent them from living longer. When we first see Victor Frankenstein he seems happy and is represented as belonging to rich family and has a soon to be married wife Elizabeth. Victor dresses smartly wearing nice clothes and you can clearly see that he looks after himself well, as he is cleanly shaven and has a all round cleansed touch.
He is studying at a university and is engaged in trying to find out the method of bringing someone back to life. He is very focused in his work and is very keen to make himself heard, and when people refuse to believe in his thoughts he decides to prove himself. Consequently trying to prove himself in the film ends up creating a new creature. Both directors show good skills in how they present the creature sympathetically and create suspense. One of the best ways sympathy is created for the creature is by the way he is presented to the audience.
His scars on his face and the way in which he walks with a hobble creates sympathy and also the way in which the creature can’t portray his feelings, as he has not been taught to talk. But this way of presenting the creature is different in the James Whale version as they present him neatly but treat him with less respect, and in the James Whale version the creature looks tired and depressed and has not got feelings yet and he doesn’t understand how life works, just like a new born baby which is helpless to the outside world.
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