Acclaimed screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House) brings to DVD an all new Dickens adaptation starring Academy Award Nominee Tom Courtenay (The Golden Compass), Matthew Macfadyen (MI-5, Pride and Prej... more »udice) and newcomer Claire Foy (Being Human). This gripping new series brings to life Dickens's powerful story of struggle and hardship in 1820s London. When Arthur Clennam (Macfadyen) returns to England after many years abroad, his curiosity is piqued by the presence in his mother's house of a young seamstress, Amy Dorrit (Foy). His quest to discover the truth about ?Little Dorrit? takes him to the Marshalsea Debtors Prison, where he discovers that the dark shadows of debt stretch far and wide. Filled with humorous yet tragic characters, Little Dorrit is a stirring rags to riches to rags story, exposing the underbelly of nineteenth century British society as only Charles Dickens can.« less
Terry E. Ruddy | Sierra Madre, CA USA | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I will always be a tremendous fan of the two part film version with Derek Jacobi and Sir Alec Guiness, now generally only found on used video tape. This wonderful new miniseries does however acquit itself very nicely. Shown earlier in the UK, the acting by Matthew Macfadyn (of Pride and Prejudice fame) captures the well-intentioned and kind hearted Arthur Clennam perfectly. Equally impressive is Claire Foy as the courageous and decent Little (Amy) Dorrit. Still the best may be the character portrayed by Tom Courtenay, William Dorrit, "the father of the Marshalsea" the famous debtors' prison. The series is full of very strong supporting performances, it would take far too long to list the many wonderful actors and actresses who are found in every scene. The show follows a very typical Dickens plot of slowly developing mysteries and strangely interwoven relationships. Little Dorrit was born inside a debtors' prison and has lived her entire life working unendingly and without complaint to make her father's decades long imprisonment there more bearable. She is the first child born there; this fact and his former stature as a gentleman gives him an informal social superiority inside that he enjoys and uses as possible to his personal benefit. The arrival in London of Arthur Clennam from China to share with his mother the news of his father's death, pushes an already moving story into many surprising turns. Rich and poor, good and bad, people of all social circles find themselves pulled into confronting their changing fortunes. Some who find themselves well-off deal with their new situation far less well than those dealing with adversity. Dickens is telling a story far too near to his own with the theme of these families forced to see many generations live behind prison walls for the want of a few pounds. The story is one of his strongest and this series tells it honestly and with an incredible strength of cast and script."
Couldn't Stop Watching!
Janeite | USA | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only recently read Little Dorrit, and it is my new favorite Dickens novel. The story of Amy Dorrit, an honest girl born in debtor's prison, is a wonderful tale full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, death and romance. As with many Dickens books, it literally has a cast of thousands, and this production follows most of the storylines from the book quite faithfully. I just watched this on the internet, and I thought this version was sensitive to the material and did a good job of keeping the characters engaging and true while obviously having to shorten Dickens' voluminous descriptions into shorter episodes. The story is a bit of a soap opera with plenty of bad luck and broken hearts lying around. However, it totally works for me. When I read the book, I actually couldn't put it down and devoured it in a couple of days. This movie was the same way. I couldn't stop watching it or wait until the next episode. At the end, I was sitting in front of my computer crying. It is just a lovely story, well-scripted, beautifully acted, and engaging throughout. I haven't ordered my copy yet so I can't speak to any issues with the actual dvd yet, and I will admit that I have thus far been unable to sit through the 1988 version. I want to like it since I've heard so many raves about it (and I adore Derek Jacobi--he's my all time favorite Hamlet) but it moves very slowly and ploddingly to me, and I just lose interest. So I highly recommend this version if you like Dickens at all or if you like any of the actors because the cast (Matthew Macfadyen and Claire Foy especially) do a lovely job. UPDATE: I received my dvd from Amazon and am thrilled to have purchased it. I had seen it on the internet and on Masterpiece (I'm in the US) and the episodes on the dvd are a bit different from what was shown on PBS. The dvd set consists of 4 discs in a widescreen format with 14 episodes coming in at a whopping 452 minutes and includes an interesting "making of" feature with info. about Dickens himself as well as the film's production. I'm pretty sure I saw a scene or two here that was missing on PBS, plus I got the widescreen format that I didn't get on my tv. A word of caution: the episodes end in cliff-hangers that make it almost impossible to go to bed without watching "just one more episode." My husband and I both love it and have already recommended it to several people we know. This is a great movie that will make a superb addition to your home dvd library."
D. Loomis | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We are watching this now on PBS, and so far it has been a wonderful rendition of one of our favorite tales. It is lengthy and takes its time to tell the story. So far, we are pleased with the screenplay and it has done a very solid job of converting the story.
The setting, characters, and speech all feel very authentic and the efforts which were taken to make all of it so true to the time are impressive.
The primary actor and actress, whatever their names, are doing outstanding jobs. Very earnest renditions of the characters they are playing - and charming and worth watching.
We've not had any issues understanding what they are saying - the slang is not over-the-top or too accented for us US Midwesterners. I've much more difficulty following Mark Twain than I do listening to this story."
Wonderful Wholesome Drama
Mark Austin or Jane Twain | Vancouver, Wa USA | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I too, am watching it on OPB right now and I consider it to be enthralling, romantic, and emotional. The scenery, costumes, actors, and effects are all wonderful. It is great to be able to turn on the TV and watch something wholesome and well-made, not to mention classic! Everyone who appreciates literature and societies of time gone by need to tune in!"
Lavish and well-cast production of Dickens' "Little Dorrit"
z hayes | TX | 04/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With a screenplay by the acclaimed Andrew Davies [who also wrote the screenplays for "Pride and Prejudice", "Bleak House" etc], Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit" comes alive onscreen as shown on PBS. This particular adaptation is very faithful to the original work, perhaps overly so, yet the incredible cast makes this production top-quality period drama.
Typical of Dickens' work, there is much focus on the differences between the upper and lower strata in society. Matthew MacFadyen plays Arthur Clennam, who returns from abroad to find his emotionally-detached mother [played by Judy Parfitt] employing an impoverished young woman, Amy "Little" Dorrit [ an almost luminescent Claire Foy] who was basically born and bred in debtor's prison where her father William [Tom Courtenay]has been incarcerated for more than two decades. She goes back to tend to his needs on the weekends. Arthur begins to fear that his mother is concealing some dark secrets and that his family may be involved in bringing about the Dorrits' downfall, and the well-intentioned young man goes about remedying the situation. The kind-hearted Amy falls for Arthur but the path of true love doesn't run very smoothly here, and it takes some convoluted plot twists.
On the whole, the casting was well-done but I did find the actress playing Tattycoram to be more annoying than convincing in her performance. I also thought that the scenes with Ms Wade [Maxine Peake] were overly-dramatized. Though this production stays very faithful to the book, it could have done with some editing, as the story itself is laborious and can be quite daunting to a viewer unfamiliar with the book, noting the complex cast of characters and their relationship to one another.
I would definitely recommend this production of "Little Dorrit" to fans of British period dramas, and especially to those who love Dickens' work. It would perhaps be prudent to read the book before watching this drama if only to refresh one's memory of the intricate storyline, especially considering that the last hour of the production seems like a rushed attempt to iron out the plot towards its conclusion.