Filming and the music

The main difference between the two versions is that David Lean’s is in black and white. The black writing on the white background is very conventional and the opening music is light-hearted and doesn’t appear to fit the story. After the credits the music dies away and the screen dissolves to just an open book, shown through a close-up view. The narrator provides the viewer with information about the plot and is very dedicated to the book, unlike the 1999 version of the story.

The music throughout the film is used to create atmosphere and suspense. The music of just the wind and the seagulls in the first scene emphasises the desolate feeling. The creaking trees are portrayed as threatening and connote that something ominous is about to happen. Lean allows the viewer to hear everything that Pip is hearing, helping the viewer to understand his anxiety. When the convict appears like a monster the scream is shocking as makes the viewer see and hear his fear simultaneously. We can hear the chains before he can be seen, this is very tormenting. Here Lean is creating tension as the viewer does not know what the sound is when they first hear it.

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The setting of Julian Jarrold’s version is less stereotypical. It is not dark and the sky is bright, unlike the older version. The setting of the cornfield is less traditional and does not prepare the viewer for when the convict chases Pip. This is because no-one would expect to find a convict in the middle of a cornfield. The yellow reeds add to the tranquillity and the viewer feels relaxed. The viewer has no idea of the events to come and because of this, the shock has a greater impact when Pip begins to run. Just before we see Pip’s head appear out of the cornfield, from the convict’s point of view. We hear heavy breathing and this causes tension as no-one can be seen.

The scene appears empty creating atmosphere when suddenly Pip is made visible from between the corn. The viewer ponders why he is running so fast and from what. From the way this scene is filmed great suspense is created. The way the camera moves quickly alarms the viewer as it is not clear where Pip is running to. Jarrold uses slow motion filming to add to the suspense and frustration in the audience as the viewer will want Pip to run faster to escape whatever he is running from.

Tracking is used to follow Pip, sometimes the chase is filmed from Pip’s point of view, pushing through the corn and sometimes it is filmed from the convict’s point of view focusing of the effacer trying to catch up with Pip. The travelling shot helps us to see both of the characters points of view. Throughout the chase drumbeats can be heard which are loud, bold and building up the tension.

The chains of the convict can be heard, however, we do not know that these chains are attached to the convict’s legs because we have not seen him. We are also unaware that this thing or person chasing Pip is a convict. Jarrold’s use of slow motion filming and the music used also creates an underwater feeling, people and objects cannot travel as fast underwater, consequently adding to the feeling that this could simply be a nightmare. The other sounds used by Jarrold to create tension include the heavy drumbeats for feet and a rapid heartbeat sound yet we do not know if they are those of the convict or of Pip. The sounds are repetitive and tedious causing frustration and anxiety in the viewer.

When the screen suddenly cuts to the birds and the sound of them flying above the ground we cannot see what is happening to Pip. These birds cause suspense as the viewer is only able to see a small portion of the scenery, but we are aware that this is happening simultaneously to whatever the convict is doing to harm Pip. The viewer is left to feel helpless. The birds fly very fast and seem to have had a startled panic. Julian Jarrold may have done this to show how scared Pip is or the birds could have been shown like this as if they are hurrying to get home before sunset. The sun is shown to be setting in the sky; this informs the viewer about the setting. It creates suspense and tells the viewer that it is now late in the evening. The scenery of the birds is then faded and the scene blends into the next, which is back to the bleak marshlands with the titles.

The titles are used in this version to create tension unlike the Lean version. After the break with the birds the viewer is oblivious to what has happened to Pip and only the marshland with no-one around is visible to the viewer. The isolation of Pip is tormenting because anything could happen to him now that the angry convict has him. Intrigued, the viewer keeps watching and listening to see Pip.

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