About that vote on which film or miniseries I should recap -- we had an interesting split. All the voters on this site wanted Hard Times, and all the voters in the Dickensblog Facebook group wanted Martin Chuzzlewit! But there were four voters here and three voters over there, which means Hard Times wins. With any luck, I'll get to it, or at least start it, this weekend!
It's been a while now since I've done a review/recap of a Dickens film or miniseries -- which kind of makes sense, because it's been a while now since a new one has come out. However, I do have two box sets of older adaptations sitting on the shelf, most of which I've never seen before. So I think I'd like to do another one pretty soon. I've narrowed it down to three possibilities to start with:
Hard Times (1994), starring Alan Bates, Bob Peck, Bill Paterson, Harriet Walter, and Richard E. Grant.
Martin Chuzzlewit (1994), starring Paul Scofield, Tom Wilkinson, Philip Franks, and Julia Sawalha.
Barnaby Rudge (1960), starring John Wood, Barbara Hicks, Nigel Arkwright, Newton Blick, and Joan Hickson.
If any of you want to express a preference, put it in the comment section below. If we don't get any votes, I'll just go ahead and pick one!
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol had "its first prime-time network appearance in decades" on Saturday . . . and I didn't hear about it until afterwards. My humble apologies, dear readers. I deserve to be boiled in my own pudding and buried with . . . well, you know the drill.
Over at BuzzFeed, however, they're arguing that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best adaptation anyway.
Meanwhile, at the Boulder Daily Camera, Richard Bowman rightly points out, "Nothing can compare with the original. No
theatrical replica, no animated cartoon, no condensed 'Cliff Note'
version can begin to equal the experience of reading the original. I had
known what a great story it is; I hadn't realized how great the
original telling of it is."
Nick Nickleby aired on the BBC in mid-November, basically unannounced and tucked away somewhere in the early afternoon. That's a real pity, because this modern adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Nicholas Nickleby is a little gem which should be viewed by many more people!
Martin Chuzzlewit is one of Dickens' lesser-known, or at least lesser-read, novels. I first read it a few years ago in my campaign to read everything Dickensian I could get my hands on, and despite its reputation, I was surprised to find I enjoyed it very much, and it quickly became one of my favorite of Dickens' early works! Recently, I stumbled across the 1994 BBC miniseries on YouTube, and decided to give it a go too, even though it was nearly six hours long. And in my opinion, it turned out to be one of the best Dickensian adaptations I've seen so far.
I'm a little late with this news: The miniseries Nick Nickleby aired on BBC One earlier this month. (Thanks to Pete Orford for the tip.) The modernized version of Dickens's third novel, which ran in the afternoons, earned between 700,000 and 800,000 viewers per installment. I don't know yet whether it will be made available over here, but the show's website mentions an international distributor, so it might be! In the meantime, a few clips are available at the BBC site.