Only rabid Dickensians will find fault with the present adaptation, and paradoxically only lovers of Dickens will derive maximum pleasure from the film.
This adaptation tells how young Pip befriends an escaped convict, who, recaptured and transported to Australia, leaves Pip a fortune so he may become a gentleman with great expectations. Pip believes the unexpected fortune originated with the eccentric Miss Havisham at whose house he has met Estella the girl he loves.
To condense the novel into a two-hour picture meant sacrificing many minor characters. The period and people are vividly brought to life. But so particular have the producers been to avoid offending any Dickensian and every character is drawn so precise that many of them are puppets.
That’s the great fault of the film. It is beautiful but lacks heart. It evokes admiration but no feeling.
With the exception of John Mills and Alec Guinness, only the secondary characters are entirely credible. Valerie Hobson, whose beauty is not captured by the camera, fails to bring Estella to life, and young Jean Simmons, who plays the role as a girl, is adequately heartless.
1947: Best B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay