A 1946 British film directed by David Lean, Great Expectations is a civilized and scintillating adaptation, with acting ranging from extraordinary to ordinary—most of it the former. Consider Finlay Currie as Magwitch and Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham. Almost needless to say, GE is visually finer and emotionally deeper than most of the Old Hollywood adaptations of classics, nifty as these can be (e.g. Cukor’s Little Women). Granted, its simple humanitarianism is boring now, but at least the film avoids moralism. And it itself isn’t boring.
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