The battle of the sexes and relationships among the elite of Britian's industrial Midlands in the 1920s. Gerald Crich and Rupert Berkin are best friends who fall in love with a pair of ... See full summary »
Pip, a good-natured, gullible young orphan, lives with kind blacksmith Joe Gargery and his bossy, abusive wife 'Mrs. Joe'. When the boy finds two hidden escaped galley convicts, he obeys under -probably unnecessary- threat of a horrible death to bring the criminals food he must steal at peril of more caning from the battle-ax. Just when Pip fears to get it really good while they have guests, a soldier comes for Joe who takes Pip along as assistant to work on the chains of escaped galley-convicts, who are soon caught. The better-natured one takes the blame for the stolen food. Later Pip is invited to became the playmate of Estelle, the equally arrogant adoptive daughter of gloomy, filthy rich Miss Havisham at her estate, who actually has 'permission' to break the kind kid's heart; being the only pretty girl he ever saw, she wins his heart forever, even after a mysterious benefactor pays through a lawyer for his education and a rich allowance, so he can become a snob in London, by now '... Written by
Charles Dickens wrote a much harsher ending to the original novel for its original publication; he was forced to substitute the more famous ending when it was published as a book later on, because the original one upset his readers. I believe that this was the only time he ever changed his novel's ending. See more »
When Pip goes home to his rooms before Magwitch returns two clocks are heard striking the hour outside. The second one plays Westminster chimes. Big Ben in Westminster was the first to have these (hence the name) and this wasn't built until 1859: some years after the action. See more »
[welcoming Pip to her decaying mansion]
Come nearer. Let me look at you. Come close. Look at me. You aren't afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since before you were born?
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The identity of the actress playing Molly is never revealed, because this would constitute a spoiler. See more »
a delightful tale with broad appeal (Modern viewers, take note.)
As a fan of many so-called classic films, I am nonetheless aware that there is some validity to the criticism that early movies (say, anything before Brando in Streetcar) as a rule have less vitality than their modern counterparts, are formulaic to a fault, and strain the limits of modern attention spans more than can be fully blamed on the viewer. Great Expectations treads miles clear of any of these criticisms, and so I recommend it in particular to anyone who has a general disdain for films that a) were released in the first half of the 20th century and/or b) were shot in black and white. Here is one that can change your mind.
Naturally, given the talents of the author, the plot itself leaves little to be desired. Further, David Lean, his cast, and his crew, have done a splendid job translating Dickens to the screen. This is indeed, as the Criterion Collection folks have classified it, one of the "Great Adaptations." I doubt that there is a better cinematic adaptation of any Dickens novel and am almost certain there is none in which the Dickensian English dialogue flows more pleasantly and naturally. The actors herein deliver Dickens as Olivier himself delivered Shakespeare. Nor is this an unimportant accomplishment; having to spend a couple of hours listening to actors who sound more like they are delivering a series of quotes (though admittedly they are) than that they are actually conversing can be positively unbearable. Indeed I think that's the main thing that people are hitting upon when, with broad brush-strokes, they paint older films as tedious. Great Expectations is the antidote to just this attitude.
If you are a lover of classic films, you have likely already seen this one or will do so regardless of my review, but if, on the other hand, you entertain the possibility of watching Great Expectations with a deep-seated skepticism I implore you to give it a chance. I have every confidence you'll be pleasantly surprised and find yourself drawn into what is, after all, a fascinating story.
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