Great Expectations (1946 – Blu-Ray)

“I realized that in becoming a gentleman, I had only succeeded in becoming a snob”

The all time BFI top five film is David Lean’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ from 1946, and I’d never seen it.  I spotted it was available on Blu-Ray so added it to my LoveFilm list and it turned out to be a treat.  The transfer, while very scratchy (Showing little digital restoration) is very sharp and looks wonderful if a little antique.  Lean brings a dark brooding Noirish feel to the story making use of his ever-present eery wind-swept landscape shots.

I’d heard John Mills (Then in his late 30s) looked way too old to pay the young character Pip but I thought he just about got away with it.  Alec Guinness (Also in his thirties) gives great support as Pip’s scampish young friend in the first of many roles he would play for Lean.  Francis L. Sullivan gets all the best comic moments as the imposing rotund lawyer Mr Jaggers.  But for me the 14-year-old Anthony Wager as the young Pip (In the first third of the film) steals the show from any of these seasoned old thesps.

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