Great Expectations 2012.


The Author.
The only problem with Charles Dickens TV and film adaptations is that the stories have become very familiar over the years. Great Expectations (2012) is certainly no exception with something in the region of sixteen versions to date starting with a silent feature film in 1917. The most celebrated film adaptation has to be the 1946 version directed by David Lean, which all other adaptations have to aspire to. It stared John Mills as Pip, Finlay Currie as Magwitch, Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham, Jean Simmons as the young Estella and Valerie Hobson as the adult Estella. But to be fair the last television version shown as a three part BBC mini-series in December 2011 was also outstanding featuring Ray Winstone as Magwitch and an excellent Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.

Pip meets Magwitch for the first time.
Mike Newell’s 2012 film adaptation of this Victorian coming of age drama makes up for the familiarity with an absolute cracking cast with Pip played by two brothers, the younger incarnation played by Toby Irvine and the older one played by Jeremy Irvine last seen in the saccharine coated sanitised period piece Warhorse (2011), Helena Bonham Carter gives her creepy best as Miss Havisham with Holliday Granger as the grown up Estella. Magwitch is on this occasion played, with all his normal Shakespearean relish, by Ralph Fiennes, even the smaller parts are portrayed by well known British thespians like Robbie Coltrane, Sally Hawkins and Jason Flemyng, with a great cameo from David Walliams as Mr. Publechook, Joe Gargery’s uncle. The casting director is Susie Figgis whose name you would have seen in many closing credits including Harry Potter.  David Nichols (And When Did You Last See Your Father 2007) wrote the screenplay and the cinematography is in the experienced hands of John Mathieson. All in all a very acceptable and attractive adaptation of the novel, but lets hope we get a reasonable break before the next reworking.  

Pip gives Estella his best chat up line.