The Gospel in Dickens
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January 11, 2012


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It'll probably just be me all alone here. In general I thought it was quite good, and nothing can ever live up to the expectations raised by the finished half. I think I'll need to think it over for a while, but for such a short mini-series it was beautifully done. Gwen Hughes has said if given the chance in the next few years she'd like to tackle Dombey and Son next and I truly hope she does because I believe she could do it justice!

I wonder how Andrew Davies would feel about that. If I remember correctly, he wants to adapt that one too!

I thought the first half was very good, but the second half was devastatingly bad. Hughes left Dickens behind far too quickly and went into a bizarre series of unlikely plot twists which have nothing to do with the book we have, as well as sentimentalising Jasper and plucking out the heart of his mystery. I was already reeling from the dreadful BBC Great Expectations adaptation and in the end this one wasn't all that much better.

I suppose now nobody will get the chance to do a better adaptation of this great novel again - we've already had one disappointing BBC version years back. I do hope to see the old Claude Rains film and find out if that is any better. Anyway, sorry to rant, Gina, but I'm a Drood fanatic and have been brooding over this adaptation. I do hope Davies gets to do Dombey as to me he is a much better screenwriter than Hughes - I don't know if I'd want to see her touching another Dickens, though I did like the first half of this and loved Rory Kinnear as Mr Crisparkle and Matthew Rhys as Jasper.

Dear Judy, I've been Drood's fan also since the 1980 Russian TV-series (4 parts). Unfortunately, I don't know if there is version in English (but we know the plot :) but in Russian Тайна Эдвина Друда is available in Youtube or or or elsewhere. To my opinion it is the most close-to-the-text version, with the beautiful music (for example, anthems - Pulcherrima Rosa and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence had been arranged by Eduard Artemyev) and the actor's action is intereisting (may be too much grotesque sometimes, and some heroes are too old...)
I like the 1935 drama, as for the BBC version it seemed to be too fast, I missed some heroes, as Princess Puffer, and Sapsea, and miss Twinkleton... Edwin himself is very fine, and Deputy.
Excuse my Runglish!

Very interesting, Natalia - I would like to see that Russian series, will take a look at Youtube and see if there is a version with English subtitles. I've just watched the 1935 version and liked it more than the new one, although it did miss a lot out too - Claude Rains was great. Interesting to see that one dramatic moment near the end was exactly the same in 1935 and 2012!

Just realised I'm allowed to post spoilers here, so will add what I meant is that Jasper plunges from the cathedral tower in both versions, although the rest of the endings are completely different!

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