Great Expectations (PG)

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The Independent Culture

What larks, eh? One of the greatest British films, and strong contender for best-ever adaptation of a novel, re-released in a spruced up print. On the big screen, the flaws show up bolder than before: John Mills, as Pip, and Alec Guinness, as Herbert Pocket, both look a trifle too mature for their parts; Valerie Hobson's grown-up Estella is bland after the beauty and flirtatious cruelty Jean Simmons gives the young version; and I'll never be reconciled to Lean's upbeat ending. Against that, you have to set several films' worth of miraculous character acting: Finlay Currie's menacing and touching Magwitch; Francis L Sullivan's mountainously non-committal lawyer, Jaggers; and, best of all, Bernard Miles' Joe Gargery, one of the most touchingly natural displays of ordinary decency ever committed to celluloid. And Guy Green's black-and-white photography looks amazing.

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