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 the 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 Estella, 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 ...Written by
As Pip and Herbert Pocket navigate the rowboat carrying Magwitch to the buoy, its light blinks, signifying that it's electrical; electricity was not in use in early 19th century England. See more »
Now, Pip: put the case that this legal advisor has often seen children tried at the criminal bar. Put the case that he has known them to be habitually imprisoned, whipped, neglected, cast out, neglected, cast out, qualified in all ways for the hangman, and growing up to be hanged. Put the case that here was one pretty little child out of the heap that could be saved. Put that last case to yourself very carefully, Pip.
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The identity of the actress playing Molly is never revealed, because this would constitute a spoiler. See more »
In some prints, after the fifteen minute "convict episode" at the beginning of the film ends, we hear the adult Pip's (John Mills) voice-over saying, "it was a year later", as Mrs. Joe arrives home in the carriage. As now usually shown, there is no voice-over in this sequence. See more »
This is very close to being one of the most perfect films ever made.
Every actor performs at his best - making every word and inflection count - and the script is perfect, the direction is perfect and the photography is excellent.
I am astounded by what Antony Wager, the young actor portraying Pip as a youngster, is able to deliver.
I only have one "but" - while Jean Simmons is perfect as the young Estella, I find Valerie Hobson - as the only member of the entire cast - miscast as the older Estella. I have researched this a little and have since found that she was married to the film's producer.
I wonder whom David Lean had been planning to use? I have been thinking about which actress, amongst those of the period who would have been available, would have been good for the role. The obvious choice is Vivien Leigh and another is Margaret Leighton.
Two years later David Lean made Oliver Twist, which, while good, is a very different kind of film. I don't really feel it lives up to the quality of Great Expectations.
I have a daughter in her early 20's. She and I saw Great Expectations on TV years ago and she still has very fond memories of it today and rushed to borrow the DVD I just purchased. She otherwise abhors "old films" and in particular those in B+W.
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