Great Expectations Film Analysis

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Introduction Great Expectations by Charles Dickens presents Pip’s growth and development from a blacksmith’s apprentice to a gentleman living in London. In the opening chapter, a fearsome escaped convict springs from the marsh grabs Pip, ordering Pip to bring him food and a file for his leg irons. To obey the convict’s orders, Pip must steal a file from his brother-in-law, the blacksmith Joe Gargery, and a meat pie from his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery. Once befriending Miss Havisham and Estella, Pip feels guilty that he becomes angry over his lowly circumstances and how uneducated Joe is. The story was set in the early 1800s and published in 1860, at a time when the divisions between rich and poor were as wide as ever, and the virtues emphasized…show more content…
Great Expectations alone has been filmed more than five time, but only David Lean’s 1946 version for Cineguild has acquired classic status as a film and as an adaptation of Dickens. Although Lean and his fellow writers tried to remain faithful to the intent and spirit of Dickens, like all adaptations, Great Expectations underwent changes as it was translated and condensed from a verbal to an essentially visual medium. On the outside, the film’s Pip adopts Dickens’ descriptions and conveys Pip’s vulnerability, but omitting certain elements of the novel impacted the way the audience viewed characters and specific series of events. Some of the film’s deletions affect continuity, but other exclusions cut closer to the heart of the novel. The absences of minor characters like Matthew Pocket, Clara, and Old Bill Barley is relatively insignificant, as it merely simplifies the storyline and tightens up the plot. However, other deletions such as eliminating other minor characters, Pip’s lies, his roadside departure from Joe and Biddy, may seem unimportant, but they more seriously compromise Dickens’ intention and make Pip appear less complex, simply a good boy who lets success go to his head as a young man

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