Great Expectations review

A gem from the late-1940s golden age of Brit cinema, David Lean’s expressionistic Great Expectations remains one of the most accomplished Dickens adaptations.

The story of orphan Pip, who becomes a gentleman thanks to a mysterious benefactor, is filled with memorable sequences: a terrified Pip encountering the convict Magwitch, silhouetted lines of soldiers combing the Essex marshes for escaped prisoners, and the adult Pip (John Mills) symbolically tearing down curtains to allow light to stream into the Gothic gloom of Miss Havisham’s quarters. Mills seems too old to play a 21-year-old, but there’s vivid support from Jean Simmons, Francis L Sullivan and Alec Guinness. What larks indeed.

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