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Great Expectations

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00000F17E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,977 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Great Expectations (The Criterion Collection)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. But, I felt that the kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and that it was worth nothing." - Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This, Great Expectations (1946) David Lean - Director, has always been my favorite film version. Now on Criterion (1999). However I have not seen a bad version yet. Of course there are about 18 different versions and I only saw a handful.

It would take a miniseries to stuff in all the best parts of the book. But this film caught the essence.

I was impressed near the end with Pip says "give me some light" - oops that was Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2. Actually Pip pulls down curtains to reveal the truth about Miss Havisham's lair.
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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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By Kona TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 12 2013
Format: DVD
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. Fate smiles on him, however, when a mysterious old lady pays him to play at her estate. It's there he meets the love of his life, the beautiful, but heartless, Estella.

This is a great Dickens story, full of emotional ups and downs, following Pip from childhood to adulthood. Tony Wager is endearing as the sweet younger Pip and John Mills is equally sympathetic as adult Pip. Teenaged Jean Simmons is remarkably lovely as the bred-to-be-cruel Estella.

The 1946 David Lean movie has many twists and turns and a warm, satisfying ending. Outstanding in every way and a true classic.
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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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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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Format: Blu-ray
GREAT EXPECTATIONS [1946 / 2008] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Great Adventure! Great Romance! Great Thrills!

Sir David Lean’s spellbinding screen translation effectively captures the spirit of Charles Dickens’ literary masterpiece. It tells the story of your Pip [Sir John Mills] who experiences two distinctly different encounters with the escaped convict Abel Magwitch [Finlay Currie] and the eccentric Miss Havisham [Martita Hunt]. With life of hard grind in a blacksmith’s looking the most likely prospect, Pip’s fortunes change dramatically when the generosity of a mysterious benefactor propels him to London to begin his journey towards becoming a gentleman with “great expectations.”

With a superb cast that includes Valerie Hobson as the icy Estella and Sir Alec Guinness as Herbert Pocket, director Sir David Lean recreates beautifully the essence of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of a young man trying to establish himself in the world.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Win: Best Art Direction and Set Decoration in Black-and-White for John Bryan and Wilfred Shingleton. Win: Cinematography in Black-and-White for Guy Green and Robert Krasker. Nominated: Best Director for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Picture. Nominated: Best Screenplay.

Cast: Sir John Mills, Anthony Wager (Young Pip), Valerie Hobson, Jean Simmons, Bernard Miles, Francis L. Sullivan, Finlay Currie, Martita Hunt, Sir Alec Guinness, Ivor Barnard, Freda Jackson, Eileen Erskine, George Hayes, Hay Petrie, John Forrest, Torin Thatcher, O.B.
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