Nine year-old orphan 'Pip' Pirrip lives with his harridan older sister and her hen-pecked but good-natured blacksmith husband Joe Gargery in rural, Regency-Period Britain. While visiting his mother's grave near the moors, Pip is set upon by Abel Magwitch, an escaped convict from a prison ship whose intimidating appearance causes Pip to steal food and drink from the Gargeries on his behalf. Although Magwitch had initially threatened Pip, a bond quickly forms between the hardened criminal and the boy, so when the convict is recaptured, he admits to stealing the food, but does not implicate his young accomplice. Shortly thereafter Pip receives an invitation from Mrs. Havisham, a wealthy recluse living in a crumbling mansion to play with her niece Estella. He finds her haughty and cruel but becomes attracted to her beauty as his visits continue. Some time later the Gargeries receive a visit from the condescending lawyer Mr. Javers, who offers Pip an education and allowance that will allow... Written by
In the end credits, Valerie Hobson, who played Estella as an adult in David Lean's 1946 version of "Great Expectations", is credited as having played Biddy, a rather prominent character, in this 1934 version, but Biddy never appears at all. See more »
I have given this excellent film an eight because of important omissions. Otherwise, I would be speaking very well of it even more!
I have mentioned this factor in various places, but no one seems to know the reason why some key scenes were cut from the film. I am referring to the part of Valerie Hobson who portrayed Biddy the governess to Pip. I would say at least 10 or 12 minutes of this talented lady's footage were obliterated from the film. All we see is her name at the bottom of the credits.
In the early 1980's - possibly 1983 I taped Great Expectations from a UHF channel here in California. I enjoyed the film and like to collect period pieces. That is how I know that later showings of the films were cut!
One day I was in need of an extra VHS tape to get something important coming on. Unfortunately, I taped over the film and assumed I could get it another time. I was wrong. At every subsequent showing Valerie's scenes were cut. If I remember right even a scene with Miss Havisham might be missing.
I decided to buy the professional VHS when it was released in the 90's, hoping to recapture the missing footage. It did not have the missing footage! It looked exactly like when I re-taped the film.
Just lately on the TCM Message Boards I mentioned this and someone responded that they were surprised that I even got it complete to watch! Since it was cut, they were surprised the complete one was shown in the 80's and later all subsequent showings including the later released DVD I did not buy were missing the footage.
Is it possible that the film was cut 50 years after being issued? THere had been a family scandal - John Profumo, Valerie's husband, was mixed up with Christine Keeler (chorus girl) in the 50's. He was a congressman. His wife stuck by him. Fast forward to the 1980's. Were the TV stations ordered to show the film with her scenes deleted and someone forgot to do so with the one I viewed? No way.
Valerie was a very fine actress my parents liked in films. I recently saw her in Mystery of Edwin Drood '35 and Secret of Stamboul with James Mason.
If anyone knows the answer to the riddle of thirty years ago when I first collected films and who may have the film surpassing the 100 minutes it is now, would really appreciate it. THough I love the '46 version with Valerie as Estella, this films is special to me as Philips Holmes, a very wonderful 30's actor portrays the character Pip as an adult.
Thank you! Janet at MCannady1@Verizon.net
P.S. THe photography, all of the players including Eily Malyon and Henry Hull were outstanding in their roles as Phillip Holmes and George Breakston - Pip as a young boy
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