Charles Dickens ‘ Great Expectations’

The opening graveyard scene of Charles Dickens ‘ Great Expectations’ has become part of the cinematic canon. In view of this analyse the key elements and comment upon their effectiveness in the film versions you have studied. Great Expectations is part of the cinematic canon, the novel by Charles Dickens has been turned into a film many times. We have studied three versions, which are different in many ways due to the developments of film at the time, and the director’s intentions. The film versions differ a lot because of the technology the director had at the time and what kind of film was expected when it was made.

The three versions we studied were made in 1946, 1981 and 1999, in the time between many new technologies have been produced one main advance in technology was introduction of colour and special effects. In the first scene of Great Expectations a young boy, Pip is in a graveyard where his father, mother, brothers, and sisters are buried when a criminal, Magwitch comes up behind him and grabs him. Magwitch threatens Pip and asked him to get him some food and something to get rid of the shackles.

Pip then leaves and goes home. The first scene is very important because in introduces the main characters, Magwitch and Pip and establish how they first meet. It is the start of the novel and gives you an idea of what it would be about and what might happen. David Lean directed the first version of the book in 1946. It was the first versions made of the novel and is normally portrayed as the best as it is the first one made, it is normally the one most like the book because it hasn’t got to be different to one before it.

It is in black and white because of the limited technology so they didn’t have any special effects which is why people watching it today find it not as good as the others because of the limited technology. This version is the most atmospheric of the three and has a good setting and sound effects that create what colours do for the other versions. It starts off with a bold title, like it’s an original Hollywood movie, the title comes right at the being of the film before anything happens. We can tell it is going to be quite a direct interpretation of the book as it commences with the narrator reading from the book.

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