Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Unnecessary remakes: Great Expectations, 1974

I have just read Kenneth Branagh is directing (and playing Poirot) in a new MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS - who needs another one? The 1974 Lumet film is so well known even after 40 years and still gets shown a lot, a television staple in fact. There was also a recent BBC version too with their regular Poirot David Suchet. I am not a Poirot fan as such - the all-star Peter Ustinov ones were rather fun though. 
Now though I have finally got my hands on that rather forgotten 1974 version of GREAT EXPECTATIONS - we did not get to see it at the time, despite several of my favourites here. One would imagine Margaret Leighton would be as perfect a Miss Havisham as Martita Hunt, and Sarah Miles just right as Estella, add in James Mason as Magwich, and Michael York is the earnest Pip - all as one would imagine, and with sterling support from Robert Morley, Joss Ackland, Rachel Roberts, Dudley Sutton, Peter Bull and more - yet it all seems deadly dull and just does not soar; the cast seem to be on autopilot, just doing what is expected of them. We know the story so well of course, this apparantly was going to be a musical version, but seems they changed their minds, so its just another dull telly costumer, ploddingly  directed by Joseph Hardy. 
(York of course is one of the stars of the '74 Lumet ORIENT EXPRESS - made the same year as this EXPECTATIONS). 

David Lean's version is still the one to beat here. Its involving and engrossing every time one sees it, one could even see it ignoring the story and just relishing that fantastic black and white photography by future director Guy Green. That version remains a classic film, this '74 one is just a tepid re-working that rightly sank without trace. It is one of Lord Lew Grade's all-star productions, music by Maurice Jarre, and lensed by Freddie Young. They needn't have bothered. 

1 comment:

  1. Never saw it and after reading your review I certainly have no intention of seeing it.