You guys, I have to get you a screencap of Mr. Gradgrind's blackboard. The stuff on it would give nightmares to a graduate student in calculus. And it's so big he has to climb a ladder to get to the top of it, no joke!
The pacing here is a bit rushed -- probably because it's only 104 minutes. If I didn't know the story, I'm not sure how well I'd be able to follow it.
Mr. Bounderby (Alan Bates) doesn't look quite right to me. I always imagined him as looking as round as a beach ball, and red and bald into the bargain. This guy has way too much hair, and not nearly enough roundness. Louisa and Tom look very young indeed in these opening scenes, which makes Bounderby's interest all the creepier. Especially when he asks her for a kiss. EW.
Mr. Sleary doesn't have a lisp! I am SEVERELY disappointed. How's he supposed to say "People mutht be amuthed"? Sissy has something of the look of young Emma Watson, and wouldn't be a bad little actress if she didn't seem to be racing to get through her scenes. Guess they told her about the 104 minutes.
(I'm not listing all the actors' names here, by the way, because I'm having trouble finding them all. IMDb doesn't have a complete list.)
They are doing a pretty good job of condensing some of these scenes -- Mr. Gradgrind (Bob Peck) grilling Sissy is particularly well done. On the other hand, Louisa and Tom rush through their scene in front of the fire (the one where Tom says that Sissy must hate him) as if they have to get it done before the house burns down. And then we go crashing into the introduction of Stephen (Bill Paterson) and Rachael (Harriet Walter) so fast I almost get whiplash. Stephen's off on his old "It's aw a muddle" kick before we even know what he's talking about.
I've been looking forward to seeing Harriet Walter as the longsuffering Rachael -- it's such a different role from any I've ever seen her in before -- but she's off the screen again almost before I have time to recognize her. Bill Paterson does a really nice job in his scene with Mr. Bounderby, though.
That's it for tonight. I'll try and do some more tomorrow!