|Index||5 reviews in total|
This excellent 3 part series chronicles the life and work of Charles Dickens and mixes documentary with interviews featuring actors paying Dickens and his family/friends (I am not usually a fan of the docu/drama format but this is an exception). This whole project is a labour of love of the writer Peter Ackroyd and it based on his Dickens biography published in 1991. Ackroyd himself presents the documentary parts talking with great authority about his subject while the mock interviews are a delight. Anton Lesser is brilliant as Dickens (the staging of Dickens reading excerpts from his books are a highlight) and is matched by Miriam Margoyles as Dickens' wife. But best of all was Geoffrey Palmer, who is faultless as Thackeray. Not knowing a great deal about Dickens' life before I watched this, I now feel I know quite a bit and am looking forward to reading Ackroyd's book.
I know this isn't a traditional review but I haven't seen this program in a long time so I won't be able to critique it in detail. I caught this program late one night and was I really upset that it wasn't airing any time soon. I really enjoyed this production on public broadcasting station and I have been searching for it ever since. After searching for about two hours online I believe I have found it at a few local stores.(I don't know if I can post them here.) I believe it is sold as the first disc 3 disc box set titled "Great Authors Charles Dickens". Do a search to find it sold at your local retailers. I don't know if Amazon sells this but it is available from the UK Amazon site.
This evocation and recreation of both the power of Dickens' wordcraft, and the social environment in which he would have both written and presented his own work, is flawlessly recreated for us. Anton Lessor is almost eerily channeling Dickens and, as a Royal Academy veteran, assumes the great range of voice and physical attributes of each character he speaks for as he tells his own stories to his small audience of family and friends, before his own fireplace as would have been done in his lifetime. The series is superb, and there is a first-rate "Making of..." bonus DVD which takes the viewer behind the stagesetting to show us how the series was developed. Absolutely powerful, highly recommended, and moving enough to bring me back to a re-reading of several of Dicken's stronger works--David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, and my beloved Christmas Carol--to read with new insight and appreciation.
I would just like to say, before it seems like i was telling lies it was not this film but it was "what the dickens" not dickens that i appeared in...just had to make sure i wasn't misleading anyone, i think it just got trailed onto this as it was part of the info on Ben Cross and must have got put here by mistake. I think Anything Ben Cross would have starred in would be great as he is a fantastic actor and if i ever had the chance to star in a film again i would love it to be alongside Ben Cross, maybe id get the chance to marry him for real..(in the film). I think whoever does the casting for the films Ben Cross has starred in made a great decision every time by choosing him, he does the writers of these scripts a justice, credit to all involved.
Why Dickens is considered on of the great writers of English literature
has always eluded me. He may have been important in his era, but his
writing has not stood the test of time, as Bronte's has, in my opinion.
The fact that he was getting paid by the word is blatantly obvious to
anyone who has read him, but this is not even mentioned in the
documentary. Another central flaw is the weak performance of Lesser as
Dickens. Also the fact that the narrator has a serious speech
impediment is ultimately too distracting to hold one's attention over 3
hours. Dickens may have been a mystery, but ultimately who really cares
except for those few remaining 'fans' of his writing, and judging from
the number of people who have rated this documentary, there aren't many
Oh, another major flaw is the use of the BBC adaptations of his novels which were even duller than the documentary, but then they probably couldn't get the rights to classic films like those of David Lean and George Cukor.
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