George 'Beau' Brummel, a penniless but witty London gentleman, maintains a refined lifestyle with his loyal servant, cook Robinson. Only the friendship of the unpopular Hanoverian heir and ... See full summary »
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This recent BBC adaptation of Dickens' unfinished final work for me takes too many liberties with the tale. Not for the first time of late in a TV Dickens adaptation, one suspects the hand of political correctness rather than imaginative casting in having the Landless siblings played by black actors. It only serves to make the nascent love scene between Reverend Crisparkle and Miss Landless seem the more awkward especially in the context of the time in which it is set.
While there is melodrama in the plot, a Gothic over-dramatisation is applied, especially when John Jasper "has one of his heads", a cue for unusual camera placements, distorted shots and mad-scene background music. It also disobeys the golden rule, which even Hitchcock acknowledged, of never using a flashback that lies. The invented ending, which plays on the title of the piece, made me wonder if the writer hadn't had a hookah or two of opium before putting pen to paper.
As for the acting, I found some solace from the scenery-chewing of the leads in the supporting parts of Durdles, Brossard and young Deputy. No offence to the actress playing Rosa but one can hardly imagine her freckled, girlish demeanour inspiring the passions it does here.
In short, I found this production overdone and undercooked at the same time and rather think the BBC for once failed the great writer in this particular version of this tale.
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