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Great Expectations

DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 54.24 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Great Expectations + Masterpiece: Great Expectations (U.K. Edition)
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Product Description

One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean's Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens' masterpiece to robust onscreen life. Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella populate Lean's magnificent miniature, beautifully photographed by Guy Green and designed by John Bryan. Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0) Subtitles: English Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only) Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Number of discs: 1 Rated: Unrated Studio: Criterion DVD Release Date: January 12, 1999 Run Time: 118 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, yet Disappointing! Feb. 12 2001
Format:DVD
The actors and the cinematographer all get 5's on this beautifully made film, but whoever was responsible for mangling Dickens' ending gets a big fat 1. I am afraid the whole film can only achieve a three.
The good:
Alec Guinness! It is amazing to hear Obi Wan Kenobi's voice coming from a handsome young man -- in pre-victorian london no less. He plays a deferential foil to John Mills' Pip, and perhaps Guinness' greatest triumph was in a strong character portrayal that avoids submerging Mills' somewhat weak Pip.
Other great portrayals: With Dickens, capturing the essence of character is perhaps the most important goal, and Dickens' minor characters are often the most enjoyable. In light of this, it was delightful to see such a wonderful Mr. Jaggers portrayed by Francis L. Sullivan, so creepy a Miss Havisham played by Martita Hunt, and both portrayals of Estella (the younger by Jean Simmons, the elder by Valerie Hobson).
The use of light. This is a black and white film, and it makes absolutely tremendous use of light and shadow without resorting to artsy camera angles. The opening scenes on marsh and heath are delightfully eerie; the contrasts of indoor and outdoor lighting, most particularly inside Miss Havisham's dark and dreary mansion are all both atmospheric and suggestive of a well thought out use of light as symbolic counterpoint.
There were a few acting disappointments: I thought Pip himself was portrayed rather poorly. Pip had to continually tell us he had become a snob; aside from the voice overs, it would have been hard to tell.
Magwitch (Finlay Currie) certainly looked the part, but I thought him rather bland in the end.
Conclusion:
As mentioned, Hollywood really mangled a surprisingly subtle ending by Dickens. If you buy or rent this movie, it has to be to see some great character acting, the young Alec Guinness, or to enjoy the use of light. It is not to experience an accurate retelling of Dickens' Great Expectations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two very important Introductions Nov. 5 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
David Lean always made it a feature of his filmmaking technique to open with an attention grabbing scene. In his hommage to Dickens Lean is at his best. The sheer brilliance of the cemetary encounter cemented Lean as a master craftsman. This single scene has been often quoted as one of the best edited in cinematic history, a veritable clinic in miniature. Even Speilberg has tipped his hat. Great Expectations oozes atmosphere from the first shot to final cut courtesy of another Lean trademark, the ability to select a great cinematographer (Guy Green). Lean was always blessed by attracting singularly talented individuals to his projects. Whoever did his casting must receive high praise. Perhaps his greatest finds were in the twin talents of Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif yet this feature manages to introduce no lesser personages than Sir Alec Guinness and Jean Simmons, whose youthful beauty it must be admitted diminishes the performance of the actress who must portray her character in adulthood. One of the few times I can criticize Lean's casting. The brilliance of the other performances more than make up for this deficiency however. Gwyneth Paltrow's modern remake is a shambles when compared to this glorious undertaking which ranks as one of the best Black and White films ever made.
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By Orff
Format:DVD
The world's first glimpse of director David Lean's epic vision is a landmark acheivement in the cinema. Never before had Dickens been transferred to the screen with such cinematic skill, attention to detail, and vivid style. Lean's unsurpassed cinematic eye, plus Guy Green's Oscar-winning photography (a rare British win) transport the viewer straight into Dickensian England. The eye is ravished throughout this splendid production, (even if the creamy look isn't quite appropriate for Dickens) but perhaps the opening scenes are the most breathtaking. From Pip's visit to the church cemetery, with his sudden encountering of Magwitch, to the escaped convict's capture, the medium of cinema has seldom been exercised with such stunning brilliance. The superb yoking of image, motion, and sound in these sequences create a tempo and atmosphere that give this splendid production of the famous story tremendous appeal to any and all. The performances also create plenty of interest on their own; character and very likeable; Finlay Currie (unknown now, but always sensational) absolutely perfect as Magwitch; and Jean Simmons (the young Estella) in an eye-catching turn, irresistably likeable in her snobbery. in the screen-test stage; and Valerie Hobson (the mature Estella), who just can't compete with Simmons. The music is only pleasant, but the art direction (also an Oscar-winner) is a big plus. Last, but not least, the scope, romantic heart, tight detail, and rich characterization of the book is superbly conveyed in the film. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Movie July 2 2001
By M
Format:DVD
Probably one of the greatest films ever made. You will recognize John Mills but do you recognize a very young Jean Simmons. This movie is a faithful adaption of the Dickens classic. The acting is great. Even the lighting appears to come from candlelight in the indoor scenes. I wish I could afford it. 5 stars.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
SUPERB STORY!
Published 6 days ago by ANTHONY MAPP
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of all time!
What an incredible opening scene, one of the best ever. This film seems to have been forgotten by many, and shouldn't be! In my opinion, one of David Lean's best pictures. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Derek G St John
5.0 out of 5 stars "Come here! You may kiss me if you like."
"I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie!
Young Pip has a hard life: His parents have died, he lives with his shrewish sister, and he's destined to be a lowly blacksmith. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kona
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic
An old, but good movie that was purchased for my mother-in-law who enjoys old movies with great stories to watch.
Published 21 months ago by Risé
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful masterpiece
This movie, with it's brilliant acting, directing and visual effects, is about as good as the art of filmmaking can get.
Published on Aug. 4 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
I've seen the movie many times and it's the best version of this classic yet! GET IT!
Published on June 19 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting accuracy
This black-and-white version from the Forties is still to me the definitive cinematic interpretation of Dickens. David Lean and co. Read more
Published on June 7 1999 by David Worden
1.0 out of 5 stars The most boring movie ever conceived
My expectations were definitely great, and was I definitely let down. This is the worst movie I have ever seen. I usually can force myself to try to stay awake. Read more
Published on April 27 1999
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