Dickens at 200

Yesterday marked the bi-centennial of Charles Dickens’ birth. Dickens is one of the few writers that I read as a kid that I still read, which either means I was a child prodigy or I’m now an old fart or both.

Anyway, I’d like to pose a mid-week question: what’s your favorite Dickens novel, film based on one of his novels and teevee adaptation? It’s a hard one for me because not only did the great man write so many brilliant books but his work adapts so well to both the big and small screen.

I’m going to cheat and list a favorite as well as a runner-up. It’s hard y’all.

Novel:Great Expectations. Runner-up:David Copperfield. The latter is my first Dickensian love but I re-readGreat Expectationsat least every other year.

Film: David Lean’sGreat Expectations (1947,) which is on my list of the greatest films ever made. I’ve seen this one at least 15 times. Runner-up: the 1934 version ofDavid Copperfieldis a sentimental favorite because of WC Fields as Mr. Micawber and Basil Rathbone as the cold hearted blaggart Mr. Murdstone.

Teevee; Dickens and the mini-series were made for one another andMartin Chuzzelwit(1994) is my favorite. Tom Wilkinson as the slippery Mr. Pecksniff steals every scene he’s in. Runner-up:Bleak House(2005.) The endless litigation of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce tells you everything you need to know about why “the law is an ass.”

Okay, readers, it’s your turn.

7 thoughts on “Dickens at 200

  1. Novel: Great Expectations
    Film: 1951 “Scrooge” with Alistair Sym (They couldn’t use “A Christmas Carol” for legal reasons)
    “Scrooge” is perhaps not the most faithful of renditions, but Sym’s performance is great.

  2. I have a hardcover set of the complete Dickens, read about half of them so far. Favorite? rather like saying which is your favorite child.

  3. Great Expectations is, indeed, a perfect novel, but my personal favorites split in between Bleak House and LIttle Dorrit.
    Dickens is all of a piece, really, he wrote twenty novels about his own family. There’s always the narcissistic mother, the delusional but kindly father, the unhappy child who’s going to be the only adult in all of this, the economic insecurity and the incredible possibility of the industrial revolution right outside the door…

  4. I remember enjoying very much the The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, with Roger Rees. I believe it was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1980s, and shown on PBS.

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