Wednesday, January 25, 2012
In advance of his nibbs' 200th birthday and the fact that we're organizing various Dickens-related activities in China, I thought I'd better re-acquaint myself with his life & oeuvre. A bit like Shakespeare, he's one of those writers we all read at school but only experience as adaptations in films or on stage thereafter. Anyway. I'm immersed in Peter Ackroyd's 1990 biography of the man and tonight watched David Lean's 1946 version of Great Expectations. I've seen it before but so long ago that I'd all but forgotten the plot. It's still a cracking story and the look is classic Lean. Here's Jean Simmons, who would have been about 17 playing the young Estella; Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham; and Anthony Wager as the young Pip. I often wonder what happened to certain child actors, like all the Von Trappe kids in The Sound of Music. Antony Wager ended up in Australia working in various film & TV-related jobs and died in Bali in 1990. A slightly more interesting fact was that this was Alec Guinness's first film - although he'd starred in a stage version in 1939 playing the same character (Herbert Pocket).