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Bob Peck, Alan Bates, Richard E. Grant and Bill Paterson are all actors I admire a great deal. However their best work is elsewhere, and this video is in no way competitive with the 1977 Granada version which is finally out on DVD, and very much worth seeking out.
This 1994 version is truncated to the point of incoherence, sort of like reading Classics Illustrated comic books by flashes of lightning. None of the actors can survive the frenetic pace, with many scenes limited to just two lines of dialog. Characters can't be created in this kind of a rush, just sketched in, with Peck and Grant valiantly approximating real performances, Bates relying on tics and tricks, and Paterson actively bad. But I don't think it's really their fault.
The less-well known but far superior Granada version was adapted by Arthur Hopcraft and directed by John Irvin. Patrick Allen and Timothy West are iconic in their stovepipe hats as Gradgrind and Bounderby, Edward Fox gives a career-defining performance as Harthouse, and Alan Dobie is dry and restrained as Blackpool. Even Rosalie Crutchley as Mrs. Sparsit wins on points over the later version's scene-stealing Dilys Laye.
Skip this one and find the earlier Irvin-Granada version - you won't be disappointed.
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