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“Great Expectations - (1946) - (UK Import)” - {Blu-ray"
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: ITV
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
2009
Special Features:

None

Review:

Great Expectations is directed by David Lean (Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia) and stars John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Finlay Curie, Martita Hunt, Jean Simmons, and Alec Guinness. The musical score is composed by Walter Goehr, and the film is based on the Charles Dickens novel. ***

Phillip “Pip” Pirrup is an orphan living with his cruel older sister and kindhearted blacksmith husband. One night, while paying his respects to at his parents' grave, he is confronted by a convict - but Pip accommodates his need for food, becoming an unlikely savior to this man of ill repute. Some time later, Pip is summoned to the home of the reclusive, strange Ms. Havisham, and becomes a playmate to young Estella, who lives with her. Pip is immediately smitten by the girl, despite her cruel ways. As even more time passes, a mysterious benefactor pays for Pip to be sent to London where he will learn a trade and be trained as a proper gentleman. He seems to believe, after so many years of visiting her home, that Ms. Havisham is this benefactor. But is she? And if she isn't, who is? And will Pip's love of Estella ever go anywhere? ***

Charles Dickens stories are excellent, and have stood the test of time long after their author's passing away. This version of Great Expectations is widely hailed as one of the finest motion picture versions of the story. I admit, I hadn't seen this version of the movie until I imported this disc. And all I have to say is that I was a fool to have not seen it sooner! ***

This is the definitive version of Great Expectations. Pip is a character we come to care about, sympathize with, explore with, and in the case of at least one scene, even look down upon. It is fun to see the character's transformation over the course of the movie. David Lean, later famed for his lengthy epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, keeps things moving along as a good pace. Despite a nearly 2-hour rub time, you won't be looking at your watch or clock. Lean breathes new life into Dickens' classic characters, and solid actors being on board doesn't hurt either. Keep your eye open for early appearances by Jean Simmons (later the slave girl Varinia in Spartacus) and Alec Guinness (who appeared in TONS of Lean films, but is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the classic Star Wars Trilogy.) ***

On a somewhat-unrelated note, the character of Pip inspired the character of the same name on the Comedy Central series South Park. An episode entitled Pip is more-or-less a retelling of this film (albeit with some expected changes.) ---

Image And Sound:

The movie is presented in its original Academy Ratio presentation. And, let me be the first to say, ITV has delivered an incredible presentation. Detail is amazingly sharp throughout the film. Watching this movie on Blu-Ray for the first time is like watching it for the first time all over again. There is some minor print damage throughout, which implies the movie has not been given the full-blown restoration treatment, but with contrast and detail this impressive, who am I to argue? ***

Audio is presented in the original mono. There is no lossless track on the disc, though this isn't exactly a movie that begs for one either. The mono track is just fine. The score, sound effects, dialogue - everything comes across perfectly. Would I have liked lossless audio? Of course, but this track gets the job done and then some, so no complaints. ---

Special Features:

If you have great expectations for what bonus features will be on this disc, lower them. The disc is, sadly, bare bones.

Final Words:

ITV has created an AMAZING Blu-Ray disc on Great Expectations. The film is worth the price of admission alone, but a transfer this great deserves high marks. If you're a fan of Dickens adaptations, classic cinema, or, well, an owner of a Blu-Ray player, IMPORT THIS DISC.

 

 
 
 
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