Friday, January 11, 2008

The Spooky Opening of GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) David Lean

For your Friday viewing pleasure ....

Here is some serious atmospheric Victorian spookiness from the opening of David Lean's GREAT EXPECTATIONS. It runs just under four minutes. Yeah, it's quite spooky, even if you're watching it here, on that dinky YouTube screen on your computer monitor.

I was thinking about the Chuck Jones produced CHRISTMAS CAROL special and that, really, Dickens was great at doing up these kind of Victorian, chilling moments. Add in a great visualizer like David Lean, and you got a classic graphic moment.

This was a childhood memory for me. I first saw it on a small movie screen in the basement of our house in Lawrence, Kansas. I was in the lower to middle grades at Deerfield Elementary school. My Dad, the university professor, had rented the flick for one of his classes. In this pre-home video time period of the 1970s, to be able to watch a movie in your own home was rare and decadent ,and the only people who did that were either in Hollywood, or Had Serious Connections. Dad had connections!

Another linky: the opening to GREAT EXPECATIONS is one of The Guardian's Top 100 Movie Moments. Actually, it's #89. I think it should be higher.

Related: BFI David Lean page.

1 comment:

richardcthompson said...

That's a great movie; it's like a beautifully illustrated editon of a book. I remember seeing it at the Circle theater in DC years ago, where they'd show classics and oddities and you'd sit on crummy, falling-apart seats and eat gummy popcorn, all for maybe a coupla bucks. The week week after Great Expectations played, I saw a double feature of Repo Man and Buckaroo Banzai. They tore down the Circle for upscale condos.

But, jeez, watching that on a screen in your own basement in the 70s. That's plush.