The third and final film from the Charles Dickens Collection which I had the opportunity to watch while I was visiting my friend in NJ. I chose this film because I have only seen the 1999 adaptation (starring Ioan Gruffudd and Justine Wadell) and had been rather disappointed by the way it seemed to end rather suddenly. So in watching Great Expectations 1981 I hoped to gain the "whole story".
I was very pleased with the long and full adaptation of this Charles Dickens classic. Over the 12 episodes there was amble time to develop the story get a true feeling for the characters. The filmed moved along smoothly and held my interest with the desire to see the mysteries surrounding Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham solved.
Music was light and not frequently used in this adaptation. Costumes are fairly plain and colors are more natural and not anything brilliant. Even Pip's new clothes befitting a gentleman are not very fancy but in keeping with the time period. Sets are fairly dark and dreary, many sound stages are used, and out door scenes are grey and bleak with poor sound quality.
There aren't many recognizable faces in this older adaptation, also not may actors went on to act in many other period films. The acting was good though, characters are very well portrayed. Below are some brief descriptions of a few of the cast members:
- Joan Hickson as Miss Havisham - Because actress Joan Hickson is to me the ultimate Miss Jane Marple, I look forward to seeing her in this film. She did a lovely job being hard and selfish but underneath you could still see her sweet nature shinning through. Her 12 Miss Marple films include: The Body in the Library, The Moving Finger, A Murder is Announced among others.
- Stratford Johns as Abel Magwitch - Crimial who Pip meets as a child and who has an effect on him later in life. He turns out to be a good hearted fellow. The best Magwitch I've ever seen! It's a pity I haven't seen actor Statford Johns in any other films.
- Phillip Joseph as Joe Gargery - The best natured fellow in all the world. He tends to see the best in people and is devoted to Pip. Actor Phillip Joseph did an excellent job portraying Joe, but unfortunately he's been in only one other film I've seen, Far From The Madding Crowd 1998, and I can't remember him in that. Too bad!
YouTube video I made with theme music from the miniseries.
Long and short of it: I enjoyed most everything about this miniseries. It's just good old-fashioned story telling. I recommend this for anyone who loves older period drama and especially Charles Dickens. Younger viewers could get a bit bored by the slower pace of this film but I really enjoyed the time they took to develop the story and the plot made sense to me unlike other adaptations I'd seen. It's not my favorite Dickens' tale but it is like all his works a good one!
As always, if you've seen this one I'd love to hear what you think!
Very truly your's,