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Great Expectations [DVD] [1946]

141 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager, Jean Simmons, Bernard Miles
  • Directors: David Lean
  • Writers: David Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Cecil McGivern, Charles Dickens, Kay Walsh
  • Producers: Anthony Havelock-Allan
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sept. 2008
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CYHO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,014 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

David Lean directs this classic adaptation of Dickens's novel about a young orphan who develops 'great expectations' after a mysterious benefactor pledges to sponsor his transformation into a gentleman. Pip (Anthony Wager) is visiting the graves of his deceased parents when he finds himself confronted by an escaped convict, Magwitch (Finlay Currie). Unfortunately for Pip, Magwitch isn't the only frightening adult he becomes acquainted with. When Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt), an eccentric old woman still dressed for the wedding at which she was abandoned by her groom years ago, seeks a playmate for her charge, Estella (Jean Simmons), it is Pip who is sent for. The boy quickly falls in love with Estella, though his hopes seem forlorn due to the gap in social standing between the two. When an older Pip (John Mills) discovers that he has a benefactor, he feels that Estella may be won, but has he read the situation correctly?


David Lean's handsome adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel captures the warm humour and richness of character that so many film-makers miss in their reverent recreations of Victorian England. From the nightmarish opening sequence on the windswept graveyard where young orphan Pip (Anthony Wager) meets the desperate escaped criminal Magwitch (Finlay Currie) to the shadowy, musty mansion of the widow Miss Haversham (Martita Hunt) where he first meets the impertinent young beauty Estella (Jean Simmons), Lean captures a child-like exaggeration of reality with his elegant expressionism. When Pip's sudden change in fortune sends him to London as a burgeoning gentleman in high society, Lean sketches a beautiful, bustling city.

John Mills's performance as the adult Pip charts his change from the wide-eyed wonder and generous spirit of the child he was to the class snob transformed by money and social standing, an ugly flaw that Pip confronts when his mysterious benefactor is finally revealed. The outstanding cast also features Valerie Hobson as the grown-up Estella, now a beguiling enchantress, a bright young Alec Guinness in his film debut as Pip's jovial London roommate Herbert Pocket, and the imposing Francis L. Sullivan as the decidedly humourless lawyer Jaggers. Exquisitely photographed by Guy Green (who won an Oscar for his work). Lean and his collaborators effectively maintain the heart of Dickens's epic drama while cutting it to its essentials in this vivid, compelling film. --Sean Axmaker, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By no1filmaddict on 22 Dec. 2003
Format: DVD
Out of all the film adaptations of 'Great Expectations', this is by far the best. It captures the warm humour of each charcter, brilliantly and because the film is quite old, the Victorian England set would more or less exactly how it should be, as parts of London in 1946 would still be like that.
One day when pip is out in the Graveyard putting flowers on his parents grave, he comes across an escaped convict whom he takes food to. Many years later while doing his apprentiship as a blacksmith, he is given great wealth and property by an unknown benifactor. Pip has a few ideas of who it could be, but the truth is afr from what he imagined.
In my opinion this is probably one of Charles Dicken's best novels, and even probably one of the best novels ever written. As you will know, reading a Dickens novel is not the easiest of books to read, and this excelent adaptation, allows you to watch it instaed. I do recommend though, that you read the book first as it will assist your understanding of the film, even though the film is very clear as to what is happening.
The acting is simply perfect, especially from young Pip and young Estella who almost seem to 'be' Pip and Estela who have jumped off the pages and come to life. This is what makes a good adaptation.
If you have read the book, then this is a must-see, and if you haven't, then this is still a must see, simply because it is a great film. Beware though, it is in black and white, but this shouldn't matter.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gemma Watson on 11 Dec. 2006
Format: DVD
Having seen, and been disappointed in, many book-to-film adaptations, this particular version surprised me. It is very true to the book, and apart from Orlick and the Pockets, leaves no major character's story out. The dialogue is mostly lifted straight from Dicken's text, and yet still works quite well on film. The settings are very realistic, Satis House is very impressive and almost exactly as I imagined it to be. If I remember correctly, the ending of the film is the same as the original ending that Dicken's wrote - this helps to tie the film up and works better than the published ending.

My only criticisms would be that John Mills, although a very fine actor, is a poor 'older Pip' for the simple reason that he looks far too old. He was in fact 38 when he made the film by my reckoning... and is not a very believable 20 year old Pip in my opinion. The young Pip (Anthony Wager) and young Estella (Jean Simmons) on the other hand are exactly how I imagined them to be. By the end of the film, it feels like too much has happened in too short a time, and it is quite hard to keep track of everything that has gone on - this is only to be expected considering the length and complexity of the novel, and I for one appreciate that it did not cut any sub-plots out despite the possibility of confusion.

I recommend that you definitely read it first, only then will you be able to appreciate the film fully.

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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Mar. 2000
Format: DVD
From the wonderfully eerie opening scenes on the Essex marshes and Finlay Currie's menacing appearance in a foggy graveyard, you can tell straight away this is a winner. As the story of this "gentleman of great expectations" unfolds, you are treated to one of cinema's classics. David Lean's moody direction keeps you gripped throughout, but it's the acting that really makes the movie: John Mills and Alec Guiness both turn in great performances, and the incidental characters such as Francis L Sullivan's bluff Jaggers and the bumbling but sweet Joe Gargery supplied by Bernard Miles simply steal the show. There have been at least ten versions of this film made. If you only watch one, make it this one: It's a cracker!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD
There are some films, such as "Casablanca," that should never be remade. David Lean's "Great Expectations" is one of them.

The cast--headed by John Mills as the grown-up Pip, and which includes the rotund Francis L. Sullivan as the lawyer Jagger (whose clients are hanged as a matter of course), Finlay Curry as the convict Magwitch, and Alec Guinness as Herbert Pocket--is pitch-perfect (although I always thought that Valerie Hobson was a bit of a disappointment after the brittle hauteur of Jean Simmons).

This film has everything: humor, suspense, and a lack of the sentimentality that seems to have crept into Dickensian films of late.

Lean, who was to become famous for his sweeping desolate landscapes of "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Dr. Zhivago," captures the essence of the lonely English fog-bound marshes with swirling swathes of grey in this glorious black and white film. The image of young Estella (a bewitching Jean Simmons) leading young Pip by candlelight up the darkened staircase into the cobweb-enshrouded inner sanctum of the demented Miss Havisham (the incomparable Martita Hunt) is unforgettable, as is the sight of the jilted bride's rat-infested wedding cake. Without computer-generated effects or even color, David Lean has created a cinematic masterpiece.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Joyce TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2011
Format: DVD
This is truly a film classic. David Lean's films of "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist" leave subsequent versions (both film and TV) standing; the cinematography is superb and no other director captures both the genial eccentricity of Dickens's grotesques and the underlying sense of menace which pervades the works. John Mills and Valerie Hobson both look a little mature for the "adult" Pip and Estella, but the former in particular is very good. The young Jean Simmons is especially striking as the young Estella. The performances of the supporting roles are, one might suggest, definitive. These are, of course, the "best parts" in Dickens and a gift to any resourceful character actor. Especially striking are the Mr Jaggers of Francis L. Sullivan (who was surely born to play in Dickens), the grand guignol Miss Havisham of Martita Hunt, Alec Guinness's lively Herbert Pockit, the warmth and humanity of Bernard Miles as Joe Gargery and, notably, Finlay Currie's Magwitch; his appearance in the churchyard is deservedly a classic. A must for any collection!
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