Oliver Twist

There's a lot of good in David Lean's 1948 adaptation of another Dickens classic. Oliver Twist has all the artful design and framing of Great Expectations, and once again Lean manages to trim down the story into a movie people will actually sit through. And Alec Guinness is back! Well, those last two aren't wholly good. Particularly Guinness's Fagin. Oh there is so much wrong with Guinness's Fagin.

Great Expectations

This week marks the second David Lean film we've talked about and next week will be a third, which is a good indication that, like the British Film Institute, Criterion considers Lean a pretty important director.

This week it's the first of his adaptations of the work of another British great Charles Dickens and one of the best book to movie adaptations I've ever seen: 1946's Great Expectations. Dickens is verbose, which is a polite way of saying that he was paid by the word, and Lean and his co-adapters masterfully trim the fatty bits down to a, well, lean little sirloin.

Summertime

David Lean's 1955 tale of summer love was called Summer Madness in Britain, which might give you an idea of how well Kathrine Hepburn's attempts at a relationship in Venice go. Or the madness of the title may be the production's insistence that Kathrine Hepburn's accent is that of an elementary school secretary from Akron, Ohio.