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 ...
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Peggy Ann Wood
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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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