Search - Great Expectations (1974) on DVD

Great Expectations (1974)
Great Expectations
Actors: Michael York, James Mason
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     2hr 4min

Studio: Platinum Disc Llc Release Date: 09/19/2006 Starring: Michael York James Mason Run time: 124 minutes Rating: G


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael York, James Mason
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Television
Studio: Platinum Disc
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/24/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 4min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Would you believe...?
Boston Brahmin | Boston, MA USA | 05/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This production was originally filmed as a musical for theatrical release. The songs were edited out and this version of "Great Expectations" was released to television instead. Michael York does a credible job as Pip, and Sarah Miles is excellent as the snobby Estella."
A too obvious re-telling of the classic novel
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 01/26/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"After the brilliant David Lean version of "Great Expectations"(1946,but released in the 1947),with its perfect casting,beautiful black-and-white camerawork,and magnificently inventive directorial touches, any other version of Dickens' classic is bound to be a letdown. But at least,most of the other versions tried to be as subtle as the author. This ham-fisted version was originally planned as a musical---TV's answer to "Oliver!" and,while we can be thankful that the makers finally came to their senses and came to realize that,unlike "Oliver Twist", "Great Expectations" does NOT lend itself to musicalization, there is little else to be thankful for.

The motivations and personalities of the characters have been simplified,with none of the ambiguous qualities that make the novel or the David Lean film so great---as if the filmmakers were still using a musical libretto,but without the songs. Sarah Miles,for instance, rather than playing Estella as the rather cool,aloof person she has been trained to be, instead plays her as a repressed hysteric about to be driven mad herself as she feverishly ,rather than calmly and sensibly,tries to convince Pip not to love her because she can never love him (of course,we know better--why else would this Estella always be on the verge of flipping out?) Margaret Leighton, an excellent actress, turns in a beautiful performance as the mad Miss Havisham,but again the script shortchanges her by making the tragic, vulnerable, pathetic old woman into more of a raving maniac than in any other previous version (her outburst and taunting of Pip when he inquires for Estella is an insensitive touch the scriptwriters have added to the film).And no better,more horrifying example of the approach that this film takes can be found than in Pip's scene with Lawyer Jaggers (the usually excellent, but this time miscast Anthony Quayle tries, but fails, to sound pompous), in which the two discuss Estella's "dark secret". In the novel--and the David Lean film, Pip, when learning the truth, generously and compassionately says,"She must never be told of this"-- a sign that, despite his now snobbish and selfish nature,he truly loves Estella. In this TV version, the film-makers crudely point up his self-centeredness by actually reversing the line to its exact opposite---"This must be known! If Drummle knew,he'd never marry her!" , something Dickens would not have been capable of. Pip is very blandly played by Michael York, in one of his less memorable performances. He gives the impression of having "phoned it in".

The two major roles left untouched and unchanged, are Magwitch, the convict, played with enormous dignity by the great James Mason,and Joe Gargery (Joss Ackland), who is also given his true worth in this botched movie.Robert Morley reprises his pompous routine for the umpteenth time as Uncle Pumblechook,and Andrew Ray (the once unbelievably cute child star of 1950's "The Mudlark") is a completely forgettable, bland Herbert Pocket, especially in comparison to Alec Guinness's memorable 1946 performance of the role. The musical score consists mostly of a syrupy waltz played over and over by the violins.

Rent the David Lean version instead,and see how a great director handles a classic."
Very Uninspired Rendition of Dickens Classic
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/03/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Made in 1974, this film was originally intended as musical version of Charles Dickens's classic novel. Remember, it was the time when people saw the films like "Oliver!" and "Scrooge" (musical version of "Christmas Carol"), and this "Great Expectaions" is an obvious attempt to cash in on the trend of the time. And incredible thing is, it was at first titled "Pip!" -- and the star Michael York had to practice singing, and he even recorded several songs!The story of this beloved novel is so famous that we need no comment on that. Only I can say this; this one's script is closer to that of David Lean film than to that of the original novel. Orlick is gone, but I hope nobody will miss him, and Biddy's role is changed significantly, and so is the ending. The story goes fast, but it is nothing remarkable.More interesting is the casting. Not that it is fine; on the contrary, it is terrible. Michael York is a fine actor, I admit (you may remember him as 'Basil' of "Austion Powers" series), but he looks hardly the adult Pip. Joe Gargery, the kind blacksmith and Pip's brother-in-law is played by Joss Ackland, whose body is too thin to be convincing. But the greatest mistake is casting Sarah Miles into BOTH roles of Estella -- young girl and adult alike. She tries to manage this impossible task, but why they did not prepare another child actor to play young Estella is a big mystery to me. Speaking of child, little Pip by Simon Gipps-Kent is too tall (Pip is only 7 years old when he meets Magwitch for the first time), and the result is quite embarrassing to see.Supporting cast include: James Mason as Magwitch; Margaret Leighton as Miss Havisham; Anthony Quayle as Jaggers. They are good, but as you know, their roles are comparatively small.Most memorable is the technical crew behind the production. The photography is Freddie Young and the music is Maurice Jarre -- Yes, the Oscar-winning duo of "Laurence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," which remind us of, who else, David Lean. But what you see is nothing particularly great. Actually, the musical score wavers between comic and sentimental so falteringly that the film cannot keep one consistent tone for ten minutes. And unaccountably, they set Havisham's house and Gargery's forge in the middle of the town, depriving the story of the dreary and dismal tone which Dickens took so much care to preserve.My advice: stick to David Lean's 1946 version. Or read the book again."
Buyer Be Wary - Be Very Wary.
Peter Smith | Buffalo NY USA | 11/19/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This is the worst dramatization of a masterpiece I have ever seen - and I have watched a great many, some of them, such as the BBC's OUR MUTUAL FRIEND and the Disney GREAT EXPECTATIONS, numerous times. When one considers how full of detail the novel is, it is amazing to find sequence after sequence having no equivalent in Dickens - scenes full of absurd details that make no sense - invented dialogue often ludicrous - the whole thing an appalling travesty. Worse still, fine actors are turned into amateurs, presumably as a result of terrible direction: I have never seen Anthony Quayle, Joss Ackland, Sarah Miles, Peter Bull, Margaret Leighton - indeed almost the entire cast - more wooden, less natural. How I would have loved to have seen Michael York and James Mason with any of the other scripts and other directors - their talents are the only ones not horribly misused.

I entreat you not to waste your time with this horror. If zero stars had been an option I would have used it. One star is one too many - 20% of "excellent" is way too much.