The Gospel in Dickens
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April 05, 2009


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I recorded it on the DVR last night and can't wait to sit down tonight and watch Episode 2. I stop by, either later tonight or early tomorrow, and leave my impressions! In the meantime, I am through Chapter 30 in Book One. Cheers! Chris

Again, great observations Gina!

I too was disappointed that they got the Flora original wrong. That's one of the great Dickens anecdotes.

Gowan looks like he just stepped from playing George Harrison in a Beatles tribute band.

I am having a little trouble getting into Pancks. Loved him in the book but his puffing and snorting seem a little more sinister here.

Overall I'm loving it...Amy is great and I am warming to the younger Arthur...although he looks more suited to play John Harmon in OMF.

Great comments and observation in your synopsis, Gina!

All in all, I was quite pleased with Episode 2. In the main, the adaptation's script is pretty darned faithful to the book. I did note, however, that Davies had Arthur proposing to Pet; while in the book he makes up his mind not too, and simply congratulates both Gowan and Pet, and promises to look in on Mr. Meagles.

In the meeting between Meagles, Arthur, Miss Wade, and Harriet (Chapter 27, "Five-And-Twenty"), I thought it interesting that Davies did not use the exact quote of Meagles addressing Miss Wade: "If it should happen that you are a woman who, from whatever cause, has a perverted delight in making a sister-woman as wretched as she is (I am old enough to have heard of such), I warn her against you, and I warn you against yourself." In other words, if Davies is really trying to 'tart' the relationship between Harriet and Miss Wade up a skosh; this language would have contributed to that notion.

I also really like how Davies has painted the Dorrits, with the obvious exception of Little Dorrit (and to some degree, Frederick), as selfish opportunists who believe they're entitled.

Finally with the exception of the lack of 'spiky hair,' somehow the film's Pancks is just perfect. He puffs, snorts, and sweeps in and out (like a "little tug") just as Dickens constructed him. He kinda grows on you.

And now we move into Book II. Keep up the great work, Gina! Cheers! Chris

We watched Episode 2 last night. Wow! This is getting better and better! Your incredibly thorough synopsis and observations are spot-on too, Gina. I too, caught the mistaken comparison of Flora to Dickens’ wife, Catherine, by Laura Linney. Most assuredly Flora was not meant to represent Catherine.

While the Pancks character in the film lacks the ‘spiky hair’ of the novel, I love his puffing, snorting, and his ability to ‘steam’ in and out of a room at top speed. Somehow Eddie Marsan has the bit about being a “little tugboat” down pat. Pancks, the gypsy fortune-teller, just continues to grow on one, just as he does in the novel. “Uncle Ned is dead!” LOL! This is terrific stuff!

I think Davies screenplay, in Episode 2, really cements the depiction of the Dorrits as absolute opportunists (with the notable exception of Little Dorrit, and to some degree, Frederick). The bit with Fanny, Amy, and Mrs. Merdle was fabulously well done!

I wish that Davies had not had Arthur propose to Minnie Meagles. In the novel, while he had considered it, he had long been aware of Pet’s affection for Henry Gowan. Somehow, in the film adaptation it made Arthur really seem quite naïve (even though he is, a bit). I missed the rose scene too; but agree that might have been a bit too much combined with Amy and the button at the Thames.

While I am not advocating Andrew Davies playing up the somewhat smoldering and/or sensual relationship that ‘seems’ to exist between Miss Wade and Harriet in the adaptation; I wondered why Davies did not directly use the quoted response of Mr. Meagles to Miss Wade: “If it should happen that you are a woman who, from whatever cause, has a perverted delight in making a sister-woman as wretched as she is (I am old enough to have heard of such), I warn her against you, and I warn you against yourself” (Book One, Chapter 27 “Five-And-Twenty”). My point is, if Davies is trying to ‘tart’ this relationship up a skosh; then I think this would have been more effectively put forward by using Dickens’ original language.

Finally I totally agree that the inclusion of the “Princess” short-story was priceless. It really speaks to the character and nature of Little Dorrit.

I am so looking forward to the next episode. Is it Sunday yet? Now, back to the book! Great job, Gina! Cheers! Chris

Oops! Gina, I apologize for reposting. I thought that I had not clicked "post" on my first comment; and rewrote it a couple of hours later. If possible, go ahead and delete the first post and this follow-up. Sorrry ;>)

That's okay. Since the comments were somewhat different, I didn't know which one to delete and which to publish, so I just went ahead and published both. You had good observations in both, so they can stay. There's plenty of room. :-)

Say, good catch about the John Dickens thing. Good on the filmmakers, too.

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