Movie Mirrors Index

Great Expectations

(1946 b 118')

En: 7 Ed: 8

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, an orphan gets a secret benefactor and falls in love with a girl he met in a strange house.

In a cemetery the boy Pip (Anthony Wager) meets an escaped convict (Finlay Currie). At home Mrs. Joe Gargery (Freda Jackson) whips Pip. He takes food and a file to the convict. Pip and the blacksmith Joe Gargery (Bernard Miles) go with soldiers searching. They catch both convicts. Pip is taken to the house of Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt), who says her heart is broken and asks him to play cards with Estella (Jean Simmons). Pip says she is proud, pretty, and insulting. Miss Havisham has guests on her birthday. Pip boxes the boy Pocket, and Estella lets him kiss her. Mrs. Gargery dies, and Joe marries Biddy (Eileen Erskine). Pip kisses Estella goodbye and is apprenticed to the blacksmith Joe.

Years later the attorney Jaggers (Francis L. Sullivan) says that Pip will inherit property from an unknown person, and Jaggers gives him money for clothes. Pip calls on Miss Havisham and goes to London. Jaggers gives Pip an allowance of 250 pounds a year. Pip shares an apartment with Herbert Pocket (Alec Guinness) and asks him to advise him on manners. Herbert says that Miss Havisham's wedding was cancelled. Pip and Herbert run up debts, but on his 21st birthday Jaggers gives Pip a check for 500 pounds.

Joe visits Pip and says that Miss Havisham wants to see him. Pip goes to her and is glad to see Estella (Valerie Hobson), who says she is heartless. Miss Havisham tells Pip to love Estella. Pip welcomes her to London and is happy with her. When Estella starts seeing Bentley Drummle, Pip becomes jealous. The convict Abel Magwitch calls on Pip and says he has done well sheep farming in New South Wales. He tells Pip that he has made him a gentleman. Pip confirms it with Jaggers. Pip tells Herbert that he will help Abel leave the country. Pip goes to Miss Havisham to find Estella and tells Estella that he loves her, but she says she is getting married. Pip urges Miss Havisham to help Estella. Miss Havisham's dress catches on fire, and she screams. Pip uses a tablecloth to put out the fire. Pip gets a note from Wemmick (Ivor Barnard), who warns him he is being followed.

At night Pip joins Abel. Pip buys a rowboat and goes rowing with Herbert. They buy two steamship tickets. They row out with Abel and wait next to a buoy. They see a boat of police and try to row away. Abel fights the police as the ship hits the boat. Abel and others are sentenced to be hanged. Jaggers tells Pip the state will take his money unless he has a relative. Jaggers puts cases to Pip, and his servant is Estella's mother. Pip visits Abel in the infirmary. Pip says that Abel's daughter is a lady, and he loves her. Abel dies.

Pip wakes up from an illness and sees Joe, who is happy with Biddy. Pip goes to Miss Havisham's house and finds Estella, who says she did not get married because her parents became known. She plans to stay in the house, but Pip urges her to leave and opens the curtains. Pip asks her to go with him, and she does.

A young man is helped into another social class and learns not to make assumptions, and he helps a young woman escape from repeating the fate of a heart-broken woman. The lesson seems to be if one finds that one's life has become miserable it is still better to help others rather than to try to get revenge.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index