Phillip Pirrip, known as Pip, meets a convict or two in a graveyard and sets into motion a series of events that lead him from a comfortable life in his brother-in-law's forge to a mysterious inheritance and his acquaintance with the eerie Miss Havisham, her beautiful ward Estella, and the unusual lawyer Jaggers. Written by
Disneys version of Great Expectations is the longest and most complete version of the often filmed Book,and probably would have made Dickins himself proud.Attention is paid to even small details,and the entire cast does a fine job. The really stand out performances however are those of the films two big name actors (and the films greatest talents).Anthony Hopkins plays the convict Abel Magwhich,who the main character Pip meets as a boy in a grave yard and befriends,and who re-appears years late.The other really stand out performence is given by Jean Simmons as Miss Havisham,whom Pip meets soon after the grave yard incident.It is interesting to note that Simmons played Estella as a 15 or 16 year old girl in 1946.In this version she has a much more complex role of the mysterious,eerie and somewhat demented Miss Havisham:a woman of ruined and decayed beauty who has become so thin she is spectre-like in appearence.Disney has gone to considerable length to make Simmons look bad enough for the part,and at times she is unrecognizable except for her voice.At other times even the fright-mare make-up cant make her look quite bad enough.Still Jean Simmons gives the part a grace,dignity,and even a regal quality which is not there in previous versions of the charactor.Simmons version of Miss Havisham is fascinating and she dominates/steals every scene she is in.The rest of the cast also does a fine job,and though the film is more than 3 hrs. in length it is well worth the time.
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