Thomas Gradgrind, a leading citizen of Coketown, raises his daughter and son to prize hard facts above soft sentiment. His friend Josiah Bounderby, shares the philosophy and applies it to running his...
Encouraged by her father, Louisa Gradgrind reluctantly accepts Bounderby's marriage proposal. Enter Capt. James Harthouse, a glib Parliamentarian offering Louisa relief from her loveless household. ...
Bounderby and Gradgrind's fact-bound worlds come crashing down. After an unknown person robs Bounderby's bank, the investigation focuses on the "fugitive" Stephen Blackpool. However, Louisa suspects ...
The village of Kilcoulins Leap was once a thriving spa town, and was home to a famous Holy Well, but now offers little by way of employment for its people, and its decline seems inexorable.... See full summary »
Young Nicholas Nickleby sets out to make his fortune in order to prevent his mother and sister from depending upon his uncle, Ralph Nicklby. But he finds his first job as master at a ... See full summary »
Follows the novels of Anthony Trollope. Beginning with the forced Marriage of Susan Hampshire's character, Glencora, the lives of the friends and children of this couple are the subject of ... See full summary »
This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »
The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in ... See full summary »
Admirable adaptation of a lesser-known Dickens creation
Unlike Charles Dickens's better known works like David Copperfield, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist which mainly deal with social ills such as poverty and / or the hardships faced by orphans or children displaced from their parents, Hard Times deals with the effects of upper middle class affluence, force-fed "Facts" based education and authoritarian - almost dictatorial- parenting on the development of children. Mr. Gradgrind's misplaced but well meaning and relentless "education" of his children ultimately yield tragic consequences. Repeated readings of this book have convinced me that this is Dickens's indictment of the loss of human values and the growing emphasis on material interests and accumulation of scientific knowledge (the "Facts" that Mr. Gradgrind places so much emphasis on) which were ushered in by the Industrial Revolution. Gone is the bloom, the blush and the romance of 'The Arts' as the cold, grey, grimy new self-conscious affluence is ushered in. This aspect of the book is extremely well captured by the screenplay and cinematography. Great moving performances by everyone involved in this production - especially from Edward Fox (a long time favourite actor of mine) who plays the slick, opportunistic Mr. Harthouse, a symbol of the times. Rosalie Crutchley turns in another stellar performance. It is a shame that neither the book nor this production have received the attention so richly deserved.
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