Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Great Expectations Movie

 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 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!


  1. What a classic! (I refer to the Great Expectations movie). My first and only time watching it was one summer when my parents rented movies and a reel-to-reel projector from the library once a week. I remember it as a very dark movie, and I didn't like the ending! That pretty much did it for me for Dickens--I never read any of his books until the kids and I borrowed a Playaway format of Great Expectations and listened to it together. The older two kids really took off on Dickens and quoted from GE (and still do, all the time!). I still haven't read any Dickens books, but I've seen a couple of newer adaptations of his books and enjoyed other stories vicariously through my kids.

    Isn't that cool that John Mills was Pip? I discovered that also while listening to the whole entire commentary of "Swiss Family Robinson" (yes, I'm one of those types that loves the movie commentaries!!).

    We like the 80s version of Great Expectations--have you seen that one?

    My daughter has a literary fiction blog, and once she wrote a post depicting the lawyer that questioned Jesus as Mr. Jaggers. It was very interesting. If you would like, you can read it here:

    I hope your computer work continues to be productive for you, even though it can be slow at times! I'm sure it will all be worth it!


    1. No, I've only seen that one movie, which wasn't quite as dark as the book. In fact, I thought it was much lighter than the book, which is perhaps another reason why I liked it.
      I also like movie commentaries but rarely get a chance to listen to them. I'll have too much time on my hands once the kids graduate, when I'll get to listen toa few.
      Mr. Jaggers was my favorite!

    2. I thought Mr. Jaggers was an extremely warm personage in the book, Great Expectations. Although he comes across, day by day, as living strictly by the book, the opposite is proven in a hilarious scene with his business partner. In said scene, the warmth oozes out in full delight! That was my favorite scene in the book. ;)


    3. Oh, and I'm remembering Mr. Jaggers warmth and care for others is evidenced my numerous scenes in which he gently prods Pip to ask the right question. Also it is definitely proven towards the end when his housekeeper is revealed. Any details would be spoilers. ;)

  2. We were discussing the story at lunchtime today--a couple of my favorite characters were Joe G (faithful, loyal, loving, and longsuffering) and Herbert. Everyone needs a friend like Herbert! His mother was really something--I don't know if she enters into the movie at all, but I learned about her from the book. We also got a lot of laughs through Mr. Wemmick ("portable property", among other noteworthy things).

    I agree--Mr. Jaggers had layers to his character which Dickens reveals as time goes on.