Friday, 21 November 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1946: Finlay Currie in Great Expectations

Finlay Currie did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Abel Magwitch in Great Expectations.

Great Expectations is a well directed adaptation of Charles Dickens's book about a meek orphan Pip's coming of age story which includes meeting some unusual characters.

One of these unusual characters appears rather early on in the film as the boy Pip finds an escaped convict who he is played by Currie. Currie is appropriately rough in his depiction of the convict's manner not sugar coating him at all at the beginning, and suggesting the hard life that the man his lead. Currie moment here is quite brief but he makes Magwitch memorable enough before he is taken away again by the police. Eventually Pip finds himself rich through a mysterious benefactor, who Pip assumes is the wrong person, but eventually he is surprised to see Magwitch in his house once again which is quite the surprise. Currie's is quite good in his reappearance by know portraying Magwitch as a much more jovial sort certainly made happy by his far better life, although Currie still carries the right roughness around the edges to still show that Magwitch never could quite lose his criminal past completely. 

Currie is effective in turning Magwitch into a likable figure in these few short moments and realizes his whole character best he can. We do want to indeed see Pip help him out as Currie brings an earnest charm into the role. After his first introduction he disappears for a long time and then after his second introduction he placed firmly into the background as the film focuses on Pip basically coming up with a way and the preparing his eventual devised way to smuggle Magwitch out of England. Currie has one more scene where talks about the pain of his past which he makes fairly poignant by honestly portraying the sentiment within the general roughness of Magwitch's character. This is a solid enough performance by Currie as he probably does as much as one could do with how the role Magwitch is used in this version at least. He does not make that much an impact, but his work certainly is more than satisfactory.

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