90. Great Expectations (1946)

Great Expectations tells the tale of young orphan Pip who lives with his sister and her kind-hearted blacksmith husband, Joe Gargery. After meeting an escaped convict on the marshes, Pip helps the man with food, but the man is re-arrested later that day.

Pip’s poverty-stricken life is changed after a local eccentric Miss Haversham chooses Pip to go to her house and play with her ward, Estella. Miss Haversham, as a young woman, was left at the altar by her husband-to-be. She continues wearing her worn wedding dress surrounded by the rotting food of the wedding feast, and brings up Estella to despise all men. Unfortunately, Pip falls in love with hard-hearted Estella, but the feelings are not returned.

More changes are in store for Pip as he is told he has a mysterious benefactor. He leaves his apprenticeship with Joe, and travels to London to become a gentleman. However, Pip finds out that however much money he has, you can take the boy out of the marshes, you can never take the marshes out of the boy.

A classic film, from a classic book, it is a probably the best adaptation of a Dickens novel to date. John Mills is sublime as the adult Pip, and has strong support from Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons and Bernard Miles, as well as being one of director David Lean’s best works. A gem of a film.


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