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English – Great Expectations Essay, Research Paper

For this piece of work I have been asked to write about the comparisons between the film and book of Great Expectations. The film was directed by David Lean, and he chose to change some features of the book in his film. Although many are insignificant, there are a few that changed the plot quite a bit. One of the major differences was that the character of Orlick, who plays a big role in the book, was not in the film. Because he was not there, Mrs.Joe cannot be attacked, she just dies of an ¡¥illness¡¦. Later in the film, Pip is not attacked and nearly killed by Orlick either. When Pip moves to London, the film doesn¡¦t show him having lessons with Matthew Pocket. There is no mention of Startop, and Bentley Drummle isn¡¦t shown very much until he and Estella become better friends. When Pip learns about Magwitch being his benefactor, he goes to see Miss Havisham. When the candle drops, and Miss Havisham catches on fire, she gets burnt to death straightaway, rather than after some time as in the book. Pip and Herbert Pocket row Magwitch to the boat, and when Compeyeson and Magwitch fall in the water, Pip dives in to save Magwitch, rather than him being found later. Throughout the film, there is no mention of Biddy loving Pip, or of Pip going to ask Biddy to marry him when he goes back to the forge. When Pip goes back to the forge, Biddy and Joe have been married for some time. Pip then goes back to the old house and Estella is there in Miss Havisham¡¦s room. The house hasn¡¦t been knocked down, as it has been in the book. Estella is turning into Miss Havisham, so Pip pulls down all the curtains. The ending in the film leaned more towards Pip and Estella falling in love and getting married, whereas in the book the ending is more ambiguous. I thought that on the whole the film was well cast. I thought that older Pip was a very good choice and fitted my mental image of him perfectly, even though I felt that he was too well spoken at first. Young Pip was much too well spoken, and I thought that he looked much too old. Young Estella was much too old and adult. She was supposed to be the same age as Pip, but she looked about fifteen. Biddy was also supposed to be the same age as Pip, but she was closer to Joe¡¦s age. I thought that Miss Havisham looked too old, and was not nearly nasty enough. I could believe in all the other characters, such as Joe, Matthew Pocket and Magwitch. The film was very atmospheric. The graveyard scenes, where the mist was rising built up the tension well. The sound effects as well as visual effects helped the atmosphere. Sounds such as wind whistling through trees and branches creaking and eerie music helped enormously. The fact that the film was in black and white was very atmospheric too. These things helped to draw you into the film in a very immediate way. When Miss Havisham caught on fire the screaming and visual effects made it all the more real to you. However, some sections lost atmosphere through filming. When Pip goes to give Magwitch the food and file, cows and sheep begin talking to him. I think the idea is that they are meant to be mirroring his conscience. However I don¡¦t think it worked very well, it just looked stupid because cows and sheep can¡¦t talk in real life. I thought that after all the tension had been built up this just made people laugh and ruined it. A way to make that better could be to have Pip¡¦s voice over the top talking about what he felt, like he did at the end of the film. I felt that the book was better than the film. The books description is so good that you can imagine all the characters and scenes. When you read the book, it engages your brain, rather than it all just washing over you, as the film does. When you watch the film, everything is as the director saw it and there is no scope for imagination. Charles Dickens is one of the best authors England has ever had. His books are used as examples of great writing. They are also used as primary sources for history of what life was like in the nineteenth century. Because his books are great works of literature, I think that it is very sad that people choose to watch the film instead. The film is atmospheric, but so is the book because of the brilliant description. Charles Dickens description makes everything seem alive, and is far better than the images.

Overall I would recommend both the film and the book, but definitely say that the book was better, as I enjoyed it so much more. I enjoyed it more because I could imagine everything the way I wanted and lose myself in the book, whereas I couldn¡¦t in the film.


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