Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Great Adaptations: Prelude

I love Great Expectations. It is my favourite Dickens novel and one of my favourite books ---ever since I read it at the tender age of 14 (the first chapters devoured while babysitting for kids from our church congregation. They had played with Legos. They went to bed. I read about Pip and his first, dreary encounter with Magwitch...)

If you read this blog, you will notice that Great Expectations occasionally comes up in conversation. I defended it for the Classics Circuit: Dickens vs. Austen Challenge, featured it in a Dickens Meme, and re-visited it through a religious lens.
Next year, to celebrate Dickens’ Bi-Centenary, we will be treated to not one; but TWO adaptations (one Hollywood; one BBC miniseries) of this classic novel. I am very closely following casting and production news on Dickensblog (where Gina extols every tidbit she picks up on in her close following of any and all things Dickens).

I thought that this transitory period between end of Summer and beginning of Fall was the perfect space to cuddle into this coziest of yarns. I re-visit parts of the novel often ( confession: I even have it bookmarked in Project Gutenburg edition at work); but wanted to re-visit some of the adaptations I have seen//own, as well as speak to those adaptations I have not been fortunate enough to see yet.

Adaptations I have seen previously and will be re-visiting for this series:

 1946 adaptation, dir. David Lean: featuring John Mills, Jean Simmons, Alec Guinness

1981 BBC miniseries adaptation: featuring Gerry Sundquist, Jason Smart

1998 adaptation, dir. Alfonso Cuaron (modernized): featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, Robert DeNiro

1999 BBC miniseries adaptation: featuring Ioan Gruffudd, Charlotte Rampling, Justine Waddell


1981: Great Adaptations Vol 1 read review here
1998: Great Adaptations Vol III: read review here
1999: Great Adaptations Vol II read review here 
2011:Great Adaptations Vol IV: read review here 

There are adaptations I have not had the privilege of viewing, including the 1989 Disney Channel adaptation which many cite as being a great and accessible adaptation.[ See Dickensblog review ]
The above is not available on DVD and no amazon sellers will ship to Toronto due to its VHS format (sadness)

Another familiar adaptation from 1974 features Michael York and Sarah Miles -- supposedly written as a musical, this lesser production (according to reviewers) is the result of a musical movie stripped of its musical numbers and the blanks in between apparently cannot hold weight)

Upcoming 2012 editions:

BBC miniseries starring Mark Addy, Gillian Anderson, Shaun Dooley, etc. (REVIEW)

2012 adaptation dir. Mike Newell featuring Helena Bonham-Carter, Jason Flemyng, Ralph Fiennes

I look forward to reviewing and blogging about the aforementioned movies: focusing on proximity to text, sensibility and malleability of medium.


Unknown said...

You're doing a BLOG SERIES! A MAJOR ONE to boot! EXCITING TIMES! You should design a blog button to make things extra official!! ;)

Rachel said...

i should design a blog button----

i am so exciting....

my nerdiness knows NO bounds..