14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Gold Standard!,
This review is from: Great Expectations [DVD]  (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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Initial post: 12 Oct 2008 03:39:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2008 03:49:46 BDT
At last someone echoes my own thoughts about Valerie Hobson. Pip dreamt of Estella every night no matter how changeable she'd been ('You may kiss me if you like..'; 'I hate you!'). In beautiful, spiteful, manipulative Jean Simmons one immediately understood why. Valerie Hobson, by contrast, fails to convince. Quite simply she was neither beautiful nor fiery enough to captivate male viewers to the point where they could forgive her character's excesses.
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