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Eng 3010 - Great Expectations

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Faith R. Sims



Great Expectations

Hollywood and the movie industry have made many bold attempts over the past decade in bringing to life old classics. None however in my opinion have been done more boldly than the remoulding of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. This compelling piece is a rebirth storyline of the past retold in Modern times. Any attempt at bringing a Dickens work to the screen would be an awesome task to accomplish. I've found his writing to be so rich with description and imaging that one would definitely have to have read the original novel to get the full effect of the motion picture. It seems that many authors kind of lean themselves to the screen more aggressively but Dickens in my opinion left a difficult task to complete, which was very commending. In this paper I will attempt to compare and contrast the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to two of the remakes of the novel on screenplay, one written by Mitch Glazer in 1997 and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, and the other directed by David Lean in 1946.

The novel was first published as a weekly series in 1860 and in book form in 1861. The novel in a four paragraph summary is a tale of a young boy growing up and becoming a gentleman. He must learn to appreciate people for who they are, not for who they aren't.

( Dickenproject) He was nicknamed Pip but known as Philip Pirrip, the main character. He goes through many changes in his personality, as he is influenced by various people. Pip experiences tough times as a boy and a young man. The novel starts out with Pip feeding an escapee from jail. He doesn't know this man has escaped from jail, and feels that he must help him. Although the man threatens Pip, Pip still shows him kindness and brings him a file and some bread. He is raised by his sister, and her husband, Joe Gargery. Then Pip meets Estella, the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, an old lady who is bitter and has an eccentric style about her. Estella taunts Pip and is very cruel to him, but he still falls in love with her. Miss Havisham is teaching Estella to hurt men, because she was left by her fiancй on her wedding day. One day, Mr. Jaggers, a lawyer, reveals to Pip, that there are "Great Expectations" for him. He is given the money to become a gentleman and receive a good education. He moves and in London, he makes many new, high-society friends. When Joe Gargery comes to visit Pip in his new way of life, Pip is ashamed of Joe. At this time, Pip is around twenty years old and Estella is still the center of his heart. When she comes to London, he goes to meet her, but she tries to warn him to stay away from her because she might hurt his feelings and as discussed in class being kind to him in the only way that she knows how. Around the same time, Pip receives a letter telling him that Mrs. Gargery, his sister, died.

A man from Pip's past steps out, the ex-convict, that he helped years ago. Pip finally finds out that this man named Magwitch is Estella's father, and Mr. Jagger's housekeeper is Estella's mother. Magwitch tells Pip that he was so moved by his childhood kindness, that when he was sent to Australia, Pip's face was the only thing

that kept him going, and made a fortune for the sole purpose to hand down to Pip. Pip agrees to help Magwitch escape London and the police and the convict's former partner begin to look for him. A mystery begins to fall into place when Pip discovers that Compeyson (the partner) was the man who abandoned Miss Havisham at the altar and that Estella is Magwitch's daughter. Estella marries a man named Bentley and pip becomes ill and is cared for by Joe and Miss Havisham's long clothes caught fire and she was burned to death.

During the escape attempt, Pip and Magwitch are caught by the police and Magwitch dies in jail and Pip looses his fortune. He moves back home and during that last visit, he returns to Miss Havisham's old run-down home. He meets Estella, grown into a woman, her husband dead. There, Estella tells Pip that she was treated badly by Bentley. Pip sees her cruelty replaced by sad kindness. Estella asks Pip to forgive her, and he does, and the story ends, with grown Pip and Estella both leaving together. The remake of the novel, written by Mitch Glazer stars Ethan Hawke as Pip, Gwyneth Paltrow as Estella, and Robert DeNiro as Magwitch. I thought that the movie was a great depiction of the novel because after reading it, the screenplay followed the same plot precisely but allowed the reader to get a more full colorful understanding of the story. I can contrast the way that the decaying wedding feast, was supposedly symbolic of the old woman's emotional and psychological problems, is hardly even shown in the movie the way, it was in original novel which was loaded with descriptions of it. The characterizations of Estella, by Paltrow, are so cold hearted that one wouldn't understand why Finn (Pip) would be so interested in the first place. I

guess that my understanding of his infatuations came from our class discussions but it was hard to piece these two together in the movie and the novel in my opinion. The movie is based off the book but it is not the book itself. In the many critics eyes some said that:

"One success, I must admit that I observed while watching the film was the rich visual setting. Although not taking presented in the same place, or era Great Expectations, the movie, is a feast for the eyes. It captivates the mind with beautiful shots of the rural Florida coast life, and yet still retains the jumbled, rundown atmosphere that is described of Pip's small birthplace in a small English town. These qualities of squalor are evident in the impoverished coastal fishing village of the movie. The best achievement in cinematography, is the in-depth views of Pardiso Perduto, a sister mansion to the decaying Satis house of the novel. Even the scenes of New York, the city of "expectations" for our youthful protagonist, Finn, has contrasting aspects of rich beauty and unsightly slums that the London of the nineteen century demonstrated. This is the most major achievement for the film; to capture on film a most ingenious modern equivalent of Charles Dicken's astute descriptions." (great expectations)

I agree with this critique. In order for it to be a great movie the writer and director had to change a lot of the imagery that was used in the book because it came off as boring and dragging at times. There were some however that thought the movie was a horrible depiction of the novel.

"Great Expectations is



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