Ioan Gruffudd, Justine Waddell and Charlotte Rampling star in this adaptation of Charles Dickens' enduring classic Great Expectations, the story of a young orphan named Pip who lives with his sister and her blacksmith husb... more »and, Joe. One day Pip is sent to play at the residence of Miss Havisham, a frightening, elderly woman who seems locked in the past. She wears ancient bridal attire and never moves from the dusty upper rooms of her home. Miss Havisham's beautiful but contemptuous ward, Estella, makes Pip feel appallingly inferior, creating in him a desire to better himself?changing his life forever. But despite his efforts to improve himself, the frustrated Pip seems destined to remain Joe's apprentice. Until one day a lawyer calls to inform Pip that he has "great expectations:" Pip is to be released form his apprenticeship and educated in London as a gentleman! The benefactor who has made this life transformation possible, however, wishes to remain anonymous.« less
"Firstly I have to say that this is not a Mobile Masterpiece production it is a BBC production. The production itself is excellent, my favorite adaption of the Charles Dickens novel. Unfortunately the DVD has been put together as if you are watching the production on television. There is an introduction by an American presenter who states that what you are watching is a Mobile production. This is tolerable but once you start watching you find that little icons appear on the screen as would appear on television (I think they are to inform the viewer that wide screen is available). Finally, before the end credits of the first part, you get to see what will be in next weeks episode. It would have been a simple matter to take the original recording as supplied by the BBC and use this one for the DVD. For some reason the DVD producer decided that is was better to have exactly the same recording as was shown on American television. If you want to get a copy of this production I would recommend getting one that was made for the British market."
A Great Performance (pardon the pun PBS fans)
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 11/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, our friend below from Aussieland, is not correct. This IS the performance that aired here on Masterpiece Theatre in 1999 (it like other stuff on the WGBH label includes Russell Baker's openings and closing (singular as he did not do a closing for part 1). There is another BBC release from 1981 also on DVD which I do not know anything about. This version came out around the time the "modern version" shown on the big screen with Gwyneth Paltrow came out which takes place in modern Miami. Suffice it to say, this is the second time Masterpiece Theatre aired a true representation of this classic while the big screen put out a flop (the first time was Moll Flanders in 1996 which sad to say the single disc copy I bought here at Amazon is no longer in print and who knows how the double disc rerelease is doing). Ioan Gruffudd as Pip is as great as his performance in Hornblower. It also tells most of the story which several of the big screen versions leave out. If you are building a library of "Masterpiece Theatre" classics, then (even though it only aired in 99) this belongs in that library."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is excellent. I stumbled onto it on the Net accidentally because of the leading actor (Ioan Gruffudd) and his earlier portrayal of another classic character--Hornblower. Great Expectations is by far my favorite of Dickens and of all other classic literature, and this movie portrays the book wonderfully! Every scene--nearly every WORD can be found in some form in the book, from the younger Pip's nervous recital of Old Clem, to Orlick's reappearance and attempted revenge. As with all adaptations, there are a few drawbacks (and for this reason I would HIGHLY reccomend reading the book itself!). But I've seen very few movies adapted as accurately as this. Very very fine!"
Modern, but very true to the story
fra7299 | California, United States | 07/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is a definitive modern flavor to this classic by Dickens, yet the handling of the story is very dignified and seems to translate to film almost perfect. Mobile Masterpiece Theatre's telling of Great Expectations accounts for many of the most important parts of the story, and those who have never read the book (or, those who chose not to read it in high school), will have an easy time understanding the story of Pip's rise and fall in both love and status. Certainly this is not some cheesy modern remake that tries to be hip and cool; instead it modernizes the tale in a way that is very "Dickenseque."
One of the greatest strengths of the film is characterization. Some may see Estella and Miss Havisham as being a little more "sensitive and kind" in this version compared to the novel, but overall they fit their roles well. Ioan Gruffudd does a superb job of Pip as an adult, who learns of his great expectations and tries to use these to gain a better status in life .Abel Magwitch, who is the convict who helps Pip earn a better life, is also played very similar to the character in the novel. I also felt that Joe was depicted essentially as the character in the book, and he really brings to life his love for Pip despite the fact that Pip at times resents him. Some of the other minor characters are also fun to watch: Mr. Jaggers, Mr. Wemmick, Mr. Pumblechook, Herbert Pocket, Biddy. The great thing about Dickens' characters is that they are unique and, at times, eccentric and, as a viewer, you can readily identify those characteristics as they come up in the film.
Another aspect of the film that was refreshing was just the scenery. The scene at the beginning with Pip encountering the convict in the cemetery, the grassland scene at the beginning and the end of the movie, and the dreariness of London (as Pip first arrives) all seem to be very illustrative of the attitude of the film.
One disappointing aspect of the film was that, at times, it was too obvious and blatant. It's almost as if the director decided that people were "too lazy" to understand certain parts, so they just thought they'd have a character "fill in" exactly what happened rather than trying to let you decide on your own or show the scene the way it was intended. One example of this is the conflicts between Pip and Orlick.
Approximately 3 hours in length, this film still manages to cut quite a bit from the book and seem relatively short in length. I highly recommend this version, and it is much better than the Ethan Hawke/ Gwyneth Paltrow version of Great Expectations, which is very loose in its translation.
If you are looking for a modernized version of a great classic by Dickens, this is it. This film also works well for any teachers who want to do a comparison between the film and the book.
4 ½ stars"
Faithful to Dickens' Masterpiece yet modern
Daniel Sach | 08/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This BBC production is absolutely excellent. Like Dickens' novel, it is tight and compact, but it delivers its message with a real punch. Ioan Gruffudd, who plays the adult Pip steals the show. His acting, especially in the scene where he confronts Estella about marrying Bentley Drummle, and at Magwitch's death are some of the best acting I've seen in years. The whole production portrays Pip's transformation and redemption quite well. The supporting cast are also good. Rampling as Miss Havisham captures that character's disturbed mind and how she ruins the lives of Pip and Estella. The great difference with this production from the novel is a lack of sentimentality. When Miss Havisham is burned in the novel, she begs Pip for forgiveness and he gives it to her. In this production, Pip does not forgive Miss Havisham for what she has done to Estella and himself. Likewise, Pip brings up that Estella has no respect for herself being married to Drummle. Dickens is not concerned with Estella's feels. This is a wonderful production that is a must see!"