Now, this is true classic, carved in a stone and rightfully praised everywhere - it might be one of the best examples of how to successfully approach literary masterpiece without once making a wrong step. Everything is pure perfection, from the tiniest shadow on the graveyard to the magical view over rooftops of London. It reminded me how much I loved novels by Charles Dickens once and how vaguely I actually remember them nowadays - I watched "Great Expectations" with only foggiest idea about characters and the story, it feels like another lifetime when I was actually reading Dickens. If I remember correctly, Dickens always had some beautifully depicted, comic characters but there was nothing comical here - the movie is decidedly dark and occasionally very poignant, I loved every minute of it.
Perhaps the first part with adorable Anthony Wager as Pip and stunningly beautiful Jean Simmons as his love interest works better for me than later, when they are replaced with grown up actors. Nothing wrong with John Mills or Valerie Hobson but they don't inspire such fascination - Martita Hunt on the other hand is perfect Miss Havisham, spooky as hell in her cobwebbed empire and it makes you wonder what kind of life people must have lived when they would not only bow to such a loony but even send children to her. Lots of supporting actors were excellent, specially Francis L. Sullivan as lawyer and Finlay Currie as escaped convict, somehow I completely overlooked young Alec Guinness because I was too busy admiring the scenery - what impressed me the most was wonderful cinematography and I just can't get over how beautiful movie looks, I could spend the whole evening watching storm over the dark rooftops of London. Its one of the most beautiful black & white movies I have ever seen. Now I should really go back to Dickens and re-read all this novels that I completely forgot in the meantime.