A new to me movie onTCM was "Great Expectations". We read the book (written in 1861 by Charles Dickens) last year! I'm glad I read the book first, or else I would have been quite confused in my half-attentive state. In fact I think the movie helped me understand the book better. I never really "got" the book and had no further interest in it. It was quite honestly a tortuous experience to read, although my kids did like it! Although a movie had been recommended to me, I couldn't bring myself to take the time to hunt it down simply to watch a movie I wouldn't get. However this movie seemed perfect to me.
The movie characterized everyone the way I thought they would be, except Biddy. (Wasn't she Pip's age? I had Biddy and Pip romantically pegged while reading the book, so I was surprised by the age difference in the movie. Therefore in the movie, without giving anything away, I liked the ending much better. More on that below. Don't worry. No spoilers.) I thought Mrs. Havisham was perfectly portrayed in her surroundings. The lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, was spot on. Joe was great! The sister was unlikeable. I liked it!
Of course, being a 2 hour movie they had to whittle down some of the depth, yet they remained true to the book. Midway through I finally closed up the laptop and fell asleep. (That's another reason why I do laptop work while movies are on...to stay awake!) I got to see the ending and there were a couple of minor changes, I think to speed up the plot for the 2 hour movie. Again, it didn't really take away from the story.
Even though the very end was definitely changed up, I think it was actually a better ending than Dickens himself wrote. In fact, our version of Great Expectations has two different endings that Dickens wrote, neither of which I was able to come to terms with, causing me to like the book even less. The movie made more sense to me, causing me to like the movie a lot!
Not that this is the best movie version of Great Expectations out there, but it was a good one for me to see. Partway through my son walked in and after a minute or two he knew immediately which movie it was. (I think that is a good sign of a good movie.) He settled down and stayed up late to watch it. (Another good sign. I fell asleep but that had nothing to do with the movie.) Being based on a literature book, and since we don't have access to a DVD, I let him stay up to watch it. I was hoping my daughter would come up to notice it too, but she was swamped with college studies in the basement.
In case I have you highly intrigued, I guess I should tell you which version this movie is? ;) It is the 1946 version starring John Mills as Pip! I didn't even make that connection until I looked the version up on imdb tonight! John Mills is also the father in Walt Disney's, "Swiss Family Robinson," and is the father of Hayley Mills, who did a dual role in Disney's, "Parent Trap." Pip's friend, Mr. Pocket, is none other than Alec Guinness, whom I better know as Obi-wan Kenobi from "Star Wars!" I want to see this movie again! This is going on the "to buy" list!