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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

4.5 2
Director: David Lean

Cast: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Finlay Currie


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Immediately grabbing the audience's attention with a heart-stopping opening scene in a dark graveyard, acclaimed British director David Lean fully realizes the cinematic potential of Charles Dickens' classic 1861 novel, and the result is not only one of the finest literary adaptations ever made but also one of the greatest British films of all time. Expertly


Immediately grabbing the audience's attention with a heart-stopping opening scene in a dark graveyard, acclaimed British director David Lean fully realizes the cinematic potential of Charles Dickens' classic 1861 novel, and the result is not only one of the finest literary adaptations ever made but also one of the greatest British films of all time. Expertly crystallized into a tight 118-minute running time by Lean, Ronald Neame, and a corps of uncredited contributors, this is the story of young Pip, a lad of humble means whose training as a gentleman is bankrolled by a mysterious benefactor. Along the way, Pip falls in love with the fickle Estrella, befriends the cheerfully insouciant Herbert Pocket, has memorable encounters with the escaped convict Magwitch and the lunatic dowager Miss Havisham, and almost (but not quite) forgets his modest origins as the foster son of kindhearted blacksmith Joe Gargery. The role of Pip is evenly and convincingly divided between Anthony Wager as a child and John Mills as an adult; Alec Guinness makes his starring film debut as the jaunty Pocket; Jean Simmons and Valerie Hobson are costarred as the younger and older Estrella; and Martita Hunt is unforgettable as the mad Miss Havisham ("It's a fine cake! A wedding cake! MINE!") Remade several times, Great Expectations resurfaced in 1989 as a TV miniseries, with Jean Simmons, originally the young Estrella, tearing a passion to tatters as Miss Havisham; and in 1998 it was remade again, in a contemporary version, with Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert DeNiro, and Anne Bancroft soaring far over the top in the Miss Havisham role.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
David Lean's gorgeous distillation of Charles Dickens's massive novel Great Expectations is not only the definitive screen interpretation of the oft-filmed work, but one of the finest Dickens adaptations ever produced as well. The famous story concerns blacksmith's apprentice Pip (John Mills) who, after a childhood marked by a peculiar encounters with a bizarre spinster, Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) and a menacing escaped convict (Finlay Currie), suddenly finds himself the possessor of a considerable fortune. Among the many notable elements in this superb, Oscar-winning film are Guy Green's expressionistic photography and John Bryan's striking art direction. There is an exquisitely nightmarish quality, for instance, in the opening passages wherein young Pip escapes from danger among misty marshes, and in the sequences set in Miss Havisham's fossilized bridal chamber. Intelligently scripted and beautifully acted by a cast that includes early performances by a young Jean Simmons and Alec Guinness, Great Expectations is one of the few adaptations of classic literature that does justice to its source material.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Director David Lean's treatment of the classic Charles Dickens novel eliminates the subplots but does an excellent job of establishing the story's gloomy marsh setting, whether it be in the brutishly macabre graveyard or Miss Havisham's musty and oppressive living tomb. The crystalline cinematography helps establish a starkly ironic contrast between the sterile upper class frivolity in London and the rustic rural honesty of Pip's childhood. The casting of near-40-year-old John Mills as the 20-year-old Pip is hard to swallow, but there are several remarkable performances in this film. Francis L. Sullivan's work as Jaggers, Pip's guardian and his anonymous benefactor's lawyer, stands with imposing authority over all his scenes, dismissive of his social inferiors, yet as fair-minded and direct with Pip as his position allows him to be. Alec Guinness, as Pip's roommate and social educator Herbert Pocket, shimmers on the screen like a Hollywood starlet, establishing an interestingly homoerotic subtext to the Herbert Pocket-Pip relationship. Bernard Miles as Pip's Uncle Joe gives a warm performance in the potentially cliché role of Pip's soft-hearted (and soft-headed) childhood guardian. With characters so vividly drawn, their ambitions and disappointments are keenly felt. As a result, we are able to forgive the familiar Dickensian flaws, such as an over-reliance on chance and coincidence and the occasional melodramatic and sentimental treatment of the otherwise serious material. And, other than a few brief courtroom scenes near the film's end, Lean's dramatization of the social criticism in Dickens' novel lacks conviction.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Mills Pip
Valerie Hobson Estella/Her Mother
Finlay Currie Abel Magwitch
Francis L. Sullivan Jaggers
Alec Guinness Herbert Pocket
Jean Simmons Estella as a girl
Ivor Barnard Wemmick
Freda Jackson Mrs. Joe
Martita Hunt Miss Havisham
Bernard Miles Joe Gargery
Hay Petrie Uncle Pumblechook
Everley Gregg Sarah Pocket
George Hayes Compeyson
Torin Thatcher Bentley Drummil
Anthony Wager Pip as a boy
Grace Denbeigh-Russell Mrs. Wopsle
John Forrest Herbert as a boy,The Pale Young Gentleman
Eileen Erskine Biddy
O.B. Clarence The Aged Parent
John Burch Mr. Wopsle
Richard George Sergeant
Frank Atkinson Mike
Gordon Begg Night Porter
Edie Martin Mrs. Whimple
Walford Hyden Dancing Master

Technical Credits
David Lean Director,Screenwriter
John Bryan Production Designer
Walter Goehr Score Composer
Guy Green Cinematographer
Jack Harris Editor
Sophia Harris Costumes/Costume Designer
Anthony Havelock-Allan Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Cecil McGivern Screenwriter
Ronald Neame Producer,Screenwriter
George Pollock Asst. Director
Wilfred Shingleton Art Director
Norman Spencer Production Manager
Kay Walsh Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapters
1. Logos [:14]
2. Opening Credits [1:19]
3. A Fearful Man, All in Coarse Grey [3:54]
4. Mrs. Joe on a Rampage [2:46]
5. Somebody Else's Pork Pie [5:03]
6. A Gift From Mr. Pumblechook [2:07]
7. "Convicts Escaping!" [3:46]
8. "She Wants Him to Come and Play." [3:11]
9. The Strangest Lady I Ever Met [5:19]
10. "A Great Bride-Cake. Mine!" [3:41]
11. "You May Kiss Me if You Like." [2:27]
12. A Blessing to the Household [1:43]
13. My Boyhood Had Ended [3:28]
14. "Pip Has Great Expectations" [3:21]
15. "You Will Always Keep the Name of Pip" [3:25]
16. The Immensity of London [1:45]
17. Mr. Jaggers [1:47]
18. Mr. Pip, Mr. Pocket [2:51]
19. Concering Miss Havisham [3:14]
20. "Congratulations, Mr. Pip" [3:09]
21. A Gentleman and a Snob [1:10]
22. A Self-Swindler [3:59]
23. More Bright and Beautiful Than Ever [3:04]
24. Concerning Moths [4:59]
25. A Mysterious Visitor [7:08]
26. "Nothing on Looks, Everything On Evidence" [2:18]
27. A Confession [5:19]
28. A Whirl of Fire [2:10]
29. An Urgent Message [5:53]
30. "A Dark Time in My Life" [3:07]
31. "You Have an Escaped Convict Here" [4:12]
32. Prisoners at the Bar [4:31]
33. "Dear Boy" [3:25]
34. "You're Home, Dear Old Pip" [2:26]
35. Away From the World [3:40]
36. Out of the Ruined Place [2:09]

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Great Expectations 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
best version
Anonymous More than 1 year ago