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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Great Expectations (1974)

Circa 1812, a young boy (Simon Gipps Kent) lives with his abusive sister (Rachel Roberts) and her kind hearted blacksmith husband (Joss Ackland). But an act of kindness will change his future when he (now grown up to be played by Michael York) is the recipient of a mysterious benefactor's generous financial gift that will enable him to become a gentleman. Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens and directed by Joseph Hardy. When released in 1974 (television in the U.S. but cinemas in the rest of the world), it was dismissed as an inferior version of the Dickens novel with the 1946 David Lean film held as the definitive version of the Dickens book which I feel is unfair. There have been over 25 (at least) adaptations of the Dickens novel for film, TV and the stage. I find this a more than decent version. York may be a rather innocuous Pip and Sarah Miles not quite the destructive beauty that Estella should be but some of the performances are excellent. Notably Margaret Leighton as Miss Havisham who brings a pathos to the part instead of just playing to her eccentricities and James Mason makes for a formidable Magwitch, the escaped convict. Maurice Jarre did the lovely score. With Anthony Quayle, Robert Morley, Heather Sears, Andrew Ray and James Faulkner.  

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