Some very greedy and selfish relatives are all after the failing old Martin Chuzzlewit's money. He is surrounded by all these sycophantic relatives that he truly despises whilst ill, each ...
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Some very greedy and selfish relatives are all after the failing old Martin Chuzzlewit's money. He is surrounded by all these sycophantic relatives that he truly despises whilst ill, each one only interested in getting their hands on his estate.
From lightest comedy to darkest crime. A superb production
This was a novel about dishonesty. Dishonesty ranging from mild deception to robbery and murder most foul. And it is the dishonest who are the most memorable characters in the book - and in this TV adaptation. The tone too, ranges from comic to the most sombre shade. At its most comic is Sairey Gamp, grubby drunken "nurse" to the sick and helpless. Her dishonesty is as much self deception: the constant good opinion of herself held by the mysterious never to be seen "Mrs Harris" which Sairey Gamp endlessly quotes to the increasing irritation of her partner in nursing (and in drink) which leads to an explosive comic confrontation between all - three? Remarkable actor Pete Postlethwaite performs a remarkable transformation from down and out Tigg Montague to grandest of swindlers Montague Tigg, founder of The Anglo-Bengalee Assurance Company whose prospectus promises a paid up capital of "a two and as many oughts as the printer can get in the line". Dishonesty of another kind is represented by one of Dickens greatest creations: the odious sanctimonious hypocritical serial-forgiver and would be seducer Pecksniff (excellently played by Tom Wilkinson). Finally dishonesty of the blackest kind is represented by Jonas Chuzzlewit, murderer for money -with poison and bludgeon. When justice catches up with Jonas, actor Keith Allen vividly portrays a man suddenly in the shadow of the noose. In comparison the good, the prudent and the merely imprudent (Tom Pinch, Old Martin Chuzzlewit, and young Martin) are in comparison and perhaps inevitably - as in the book - a little colourless.) The silly recklessness of Mercy Pecksniff and the sour realism of her sister are particularly well brought out. Finally the dialogue - its unobtrusiveness as it goes between Dickens' original and David Lodge's own is exemplary. So too is the distinctive music - often with a loping rhythm suggestive of careful and wary footsteps.
A really excellent and entertaining production with a fine cast giving full measure to the most memorable characters and scenes. It is difficult to imagine it being bettered.
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