Great Expectations (1946)
I’d like to begin by pointing out that there are at least two adaptations of this novel coming out in 2012 — one for television starring Gillian Anderson, and a film version starring Helena Bonham Carter (Miss Havisham gets slightly younger and hotter with every retelling, does she not?).
While the 1998 edition was rather coy about displaying the actual remains, here they are front and center, complete with rat cake-topper. You can watch this entire film instantly on Netflix. Like her cake, Martita Hunt’s Havisham is old, saggy, and tired looking — as if she has really been trapped in her house for decades, without a Pilates ball. It’s important for the viewer to have to strain a bit to imagine her as a beautiful young bride; It’s much harder to see the tragedy in a Havisham who looks like she could be salvaged by a spa weekend, a new wardrobe, and a few good prescription mood-stabilizers.