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ACTIVITIES! CHARLES DICKENS ON CINEMA

March 14, 2012

 

The next 15th on March we are going to watch one of the best Dickens’s adaptation: GREAT EXPECTATIONS. A British film directed by David Lean.

Conducing by Antonio Morales (screenwriter), accompanied by Alejandra Frade (producer) and Bruce St. Clair (director):

5.45 p.m.  INTRODUCTION

6.00 p.m.  GREAT EXPECTATIONS (115 min.) Original Version with Subtitles

8.00 p.m.  DISCUSSION:

-Dickens topics

-Great Expectations remakes

-From novel to cinema: the success of the adaptation

Do not miss it!

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20 comments

  1. The freaking poster is intriging me very much. What does mean “Not suitable for general exhibition”?. This is Dickens, not gore cinema!


  2. Jajajaja… Rosa, I have read that British Censors Office classified “+18” the film because they considered the opening scene (when Pip is in the cementery) a horror moment.


  3. I believe that! Do you know that “The bride of Frankenstein” was banned in GB and Ireland, because they felt it could be offensive for some religious groups? And it’s a film that you can find today in any matinée program…


  4. I have just seen the cinemeforum at the EOI Goya. It’s a pity that our hall wouldn’t be better and bigger, but we have what we have. And I would have desired that the whole thing could have started sooner, and more things could have been done, and said. Even so, it has been quite well, and it’s a pity we don’t have more things like this. In addition all the things that they said, I would desire to point the wonderful atmosphere of the film, the thing about it that I like the most. The beggining reminded me another great film, Charles Laughton’s Nigth of the Hunter: both of them are about the world seen through the eyes of a little boy. Also, it is, for me, like the fairy tales, with the oggers and the witches, and the enchanted woods. Or like a horror story: in the forum, they talked about the Universal Horror films and Karl Freund (who began his carreer in Germany, photographing many expressionist films). It is true that Mrs Havisham’s house recalls Dracula’s castle in the Tod Brownning film. And she is like a ghost, or a vampire, with that veil which is like a cobweb, and feeding herself with the energy of others (Estella, Pip…) But it is that horror films began in Germany, during the twenties, and Universal filmes took their inspiration from them. The animals and objects pictured like if they have a life by their own…this is very expresionistic. The scene with little Pip hiding himself under the sheets of the bed…this was in Nosferatu, the faces behind the dim windows…this is Caligari and Nosferatu…when Pip is running under the gallows… this was in The Man who Laughs, which is an American film, but made by Germans…This was fantastic. Antonio is rigth when he says that the films made today have became us impatient and fools, all what we want to see is explosions and bed scenes.

    For those ones who couldn’t come, the film is in You Tube, but it has no subtitles, and they have missed the forum.


  5. Wow! How lucky you are to have these events at the EOI! I wish I could have attended! With such guests too! Congrats, Carmen… It seems it´s been a success! Well, that is what makes that EOI unique.

    I haven´t seen this version. I will in Youtube! Rosa, I´m amazed about your ability to compare films! You´re such an expert! I wouldn´t have thought of Great Expectations as a horror film! But it is true that it is gloomy…, the marshes, Satis House… It´s quite spooky… What else was said? I´m really interested, as I loved the book! I´ll see the film now and tell you my opinion!


  6. Thank you for your supporting in the film forum!
    Speaking in public It is not so easier for me.

    We tributed to remembering Dickens with one of the best adaptations of his books.


  7. No such an expert, and of course, Great Expectations is not a horror film, but, sometimes, the story is told like if it were. It’s the atmosphere, not the story itself, which is creepy and strange. I told about the Germans, but English are also very fond of ghosts stories. In fact, horror literature was invented by Germans and British (mainly English) during the XVIII th century. Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto is considered the first horror gothic novel in all the history. And it is very curious, because during XVIII th Century the British and the German literature were not very known in the rest of Europe, and they were considered like something new, something which was beggining. And since then, horror stories are asociated with the North of Europe. In other countries, they are very few, I said also something about the influence of the Catholic Church.

    Have a nice weekend.


  8. I just want to say that I enjoyed very much watching the film. I found a very good idea by the school to see the movie to can see the film with all my colleagues and I also enjoyed the conversation we had afther seeing the movie becuase it gave me another point of view very different from mine. Thanks for all this things and congratulations all of you.


  9. I’m just watching the film -not finished yet- but wanted to say that I was dearly loving it until the grown-up Estella appeared!! Did you like her? The actress’…, how to call it…, candour when speaking or addressing Pip doesn’t go with Estella’s actual character, does it?
    The best: Joe and Miss Havisham, and also Herbert Pocket. The fighting made me laugh!
    Off to see the rest… All in all I agree that this is the best adaptation I’ve seen.
    Congratulations, Antonio. You are doing a fab job! Speaking in public is not an easy task at all!


  10. First of all I would like to thank Alejandra,and Bruce for their help and very enlightening commets about the film. I would also like to thank Antonio for doing all the work of choosing the film, exploring, and chairing the event. I, myself, felt as if I was part of one of those really interesting TV programmes where experts (I was very obviously there as Head of the Department, not as an expert at all!!!) discuss films in a very enjoyable manner,giving the audience a new perspective, a different view to the film.
    I am amazed Rosa at how much you know about films…we should have had you on the dais, as well, or rather instead of me!!! You should have commented more things, because I´m sure you had many ideas!!!
    The film I liked, it captured the atmosphere of many hearts: Miss Havisham´s, Estella´s and even Pip´s.Dickens connects very well the outside with the inside, and I think this is what Lean wanted to transmit, Satis house is the personification, the premises suitable to those feelings, the darkness that pervades the film is that of the negative feelings of some of those hearts.I have liked your description of Miss Havisham as a vampire, Rosa, very effective and true.
    I think Pip is trapped as soon as he enters Satis house by the beauty and refinement of Stella and the money Miss Havisham has, why is it that we all like what is money brings? I think it is connected with beauty, it is very difficult to be beautiful and poor, you do not have the grooming, normally there are too many hairs!!!
    Pip´s is a pilgrimage, an inside one towards goodness, which he finally achieves through suffering.
    If we compare it with the novel I do think that the good are Joe and the convict, but also Herbert, her is a really good person. a very nice character, always there to help, never there to criticize. Estella is a victim, as is Pip, but in a way Pip is worse than her, he has the advantage of Joe, of whom he feels ashamed. Miss Havisham, wins her pardon, as she sees that Pip is devastated by her perversity, the good and innocnec of the youn, common boy, reacher her heart and saves her in the end. This is perhaps less clear in the film.
    All in all it was GREAT, and I aslo think that we could have stayed on for a while, because there were many more things that could have been said, certainly not by me, so I thonk that next year we could do it again, if ever.
    Thanks to you all for your support


  11. María, thanks so glad you are still with us, though far away!


  12. I didn’t know thay Satis was the name of the house. It’s a name of an Egyptian goddess. Surely, Dickens knew that, and that means something.

    So, the man with the scar… was Ms Havisham’s groom? How curious. I don’t know why, but I always think that Magwitch was the boyfriend…I don’t know why.

    Watching this film again, I realized that most of the female characters in the film…are quite negative, altough, mostly, they can’t be blamed for being like that. Ms Havishham, bittered and lonely, Estella, who behaves in a foolish, frivolous way, Mrs Joe’s. who beats Pip and says him terrible things…the only positive woman that I can find in the film is Biddie, Joe’s new wife.

    I mentioned The Nigth of the Hunter, but I forgot another very important film about boys and girls who become adults, and which is too like a sort of horror film: To Kill a Mocking Bird. Atticus Finch, the Gregory Peck’s character, is considered the most positive character in the whole history of films. Curiously enough, one of the characters of the other film, The Nigth of the Hunter, is considered one of the worst villains in films of all the times (the Robert Mitchum’s character: the others were Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader).

    I have a problem with the Reading Blog, I can see only the first 201 commentaries, just like the other time, I expect to be the only person.

    Good nigth.


  13. Sorry. I have just solved the problem with the Dickens Blog.

    Good nigth.


  14. Sorry. I have just solved my problem with the Dickens Blog.

    Good nigth.


  15. We are also discussing the film in the Reading Club:

    http://eoigoyainglesreadingclub.blogspot.com.es/2012/02/little-dorrit-cont-charles-dickens.html?commentPage=2

    I think, María, that the actors in this film are actually very good all of them, and I like the way in which the adult Estella is depicted. Now, she is still cold, but in a different way, because you don’t notice it at the first glimpse. She is Valerie Hobson (from The Bride of Frankenstein and The Spy in Black, sadly she is better known because of her sad private life, she married John Profumo, a British politician who was involved in a terrible scandal). Miss Havisham, Martita Hunt, is other classical British actress, who appeared in films like The Brides of Dracula and Beckett. And Alec Guiness is just THE British actor (Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Cromwell…) With all the things that he had done, he just couldn’t understand why the people only remembered him for Star Wars…And don’t forget a very young Jean Simmons, a beautiful and sensitive actress (Spartacus, The Robe, The Egyptian, Androcles and the Lion, Footsteps in the mist… she seemed to have a fondness for historical films…) who, in my opinion, hasn’t been as apreciated as she should.

    Have a good week.


  16. Well, I didn´t like the end very much with Pip and Estella happily leaving Satis House as if their souls had not been so damaged. But still I think this is the best version ever. Not every version picks Pip´s regret and sense of guilt when a child that helps the convict, or includes Biddie because she was considered an unimportant character -Rosa, you see well that she is the only positive female character. Of course a film cannot tell the story as the book does, but it was better to include Biddie and not do so with Orlick, for instance. I would have liked though if they would have told when Pip helps Herbert in London, which shows that he was a good person in spite of his “snobism”. I agree with Carmen that Joe and the convict are very good depictions, and I would add Miss Havisham – though, I think I´ve already said, I would have included the scene in which she asks Estella whether she loves her- and the house. They both are so creepy, you can see the gloom that you imagine when reading the novel, the dust and darkness they are buried with… In conclusion, a very good adaptation of one of the best books ever written.

    You are so lucky to be able to attend these cultural activities at the EOI!! No many take so much trouble to make you learn and enjoy yourselves at the same time! Don´t miss the chance and then, share it with the ones who are away!


  17. I thought to have written a comment before but I have been ill with flu this week. First of all, I want to say that I liked very much Dickens’s activity, and yours comment, Carmen, Rosa, María,….. are very interesting.
    I liked very much the film which includes the most important aspects of the book. And although I also think that Biddy’s love for Pip, and Pip generosity with Herbert should have been included, its omission is not a significant distortion of the novel. However, the end of the book is not so pink as the one of the film, and in my view this change is relevant because it modifies the general idea of the novel. As Maria says, it is not credible that after having suffered a lot, Pip and Estella can live an intense love without a trace of bitterness. Dickens’s idea is that human behaviour leaves a deep and indelible mark in us that often determines our future; thus, Pip and Estella can’t live in the forty years the passion that they could have lived at twenty, because the shadows of the past will always be present in them.
    I can understand that in 1946, after the trauma of the World War, it be more appropriate to present a hopeful vision of the existence. Moreover, I think that the vision of the film and the one of the novel can be different, provided that this doesn’t cause confusion in us.


  18. It is very interesting what you say, Isidro, relating the “hopeful” end of the film with the fact that a war had just ended, when people “needed” happy endings. That might have been why. It is true that past overshadows the present, but within time past stop being so present, if you see what I mean. Perhaps Dickens also imagined a happy ending for the couple, but not just straight after Estella´s becoming a widow!


  19. Maria, I know the two ends that Dickens wrote for his novel; I like more the original end, which I consider more coherent with the story, than the second one, which perhaps is more attractive for the public because it leaves open the door of hope.
    But, in my opinion, even taking into account the most agreeable end of the book, it is very difficult to see the idyllic end of the film.
    In the edition that I read in English, in the end of the novel, Pip said to Biddy that Estella had suffered very much with her first husband and that she had married again; and immediately after, when he was in his way home, he got in the old garden of Satis House where he met Estella accidentally and they had a sincere conversation, in which Estella admitted to have suffered very much; and Pip saw a new Estella who had “a saddened softened light on the once proud eyes”, and that when he greeted her, he perceived that she had lost the coldness of “her once insensible hands”
    The novel finishes with Pip and Estella making mutual declaration of friendship and going away hand in hand. From here on, all possibilities are open and every reader can write his own end, but Dickens’s story doesn’t go ahead.


  20. Exactly Isidro, even taking into account the most agreable end of the book, quoting you, the end of the film is too cheesy!!



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