Miss Havisham’s dress: Materialising Dickens in film adaptations of Great Expectations
AffiliationUniversity of Sheffield ; University of Chester
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AbstractThis essay focuses on the neo-Victorian materialisation of Dickens’s vision through the costuming of the Miss Havisham figure in three film adaptations of Great Expectations: David Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations (1998), a modern updating. The distinct film language which emerges from the costume designs in each of these films enables cinema audiences to re-read and re-imagine the novel’s portrayal of perverse and uncanny femininity. As a result, the disturbing and enduring ambiguity of Havisham’s clothing establishes her as a figure of resistance to modernity, and as an embodiment of decline, signalling youth and age by means of a robe which is at once wedding gown, unfashionable garment and shroud.
CitationNeo-Victorian Studies, 2012, 5(2), pp. 35-58
DescriptionThis article was published in Neo-Victorian Studies© 2012.
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