Great Expectations
(1946)
  Director:                         David Lean
Asst Director:                George Pollock
Producer:                       Ronald Neame
Executive Producer:     Anthony Havelock-Allan
Script:                             David Lean, Ronald Neame & Anthony Allan
                                        From the novel Great Expectations Charles Dickens
                                        Additional dialogue by Cecil McGivern & Kay Walsh
Cinematography:          Guy Green

 

 

Great Expectations is the story of a young boy who has good luck and great expectations, but then loses both. Yet he still learns how to find happiness and comes to understand the meaning of friendship and love. His journey is the lure of the story, as viewers follow his progress and learn as he learns. Charles Dickens introduces dramatic psychological changes within the main characters, which gives the story depth and humanity. The film is full of many adventures, twists of fate, and dark secrets throughout the story. It is a journey worth taking for both educational and entertainment purposes.

This was the first of David Lean's two adaptations of Dickens classics (Oliver Twist followed in 1948). Lean realised the cinematic potential of the novel more skillfully than his predecessors and most of those that followed him. The result is one of the finest British literary adaptations, and one of the most acclaimed of all British films.

John Mills, at 38 surprisingly old for the role, is excellent as Pip, although Martita Hunt steals the early scenes, playing Miss Havisham as an imposing if shabby figure, bedecked in crumbling lace and linen. Francis L. Sullivan as Jaggers gives a similarly powerful performance: his voice rolls and booms, and physically he towers over his servile assistant Wemmick (Ivor Barnard).

But the film is as much about atmosphere as it is about people. Classic scenes include the opening shots of the marshes and the graveyard, which sets the tone for the rest of the picture, and the inside of Miss Havershamís decrepit old house. Who can forget that dark, antique dinning room with its long table and wedding cake, all covered in dust and cobwebs? Leanís use of light and shade has been imitated a hundred times from these two scenes alone. Then there are Leanís recreations of early eighteenth-century London, from its stately buildings and grand facades to its narrow, eerily lit passageways. They build in the mind images not soon forgotten.

 

 

 

 
 
 

                           

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Great expectations