Martin Chuzzlewit is an old man with a large fortune and an even larger set of family and friends. A portrait of greed and selfishness, this magnificent adaptation of Dickens' comic masterpiece features an all-star cast.
Victoria A. from NEW YORK, NY Reviewed on 6/13/2008...
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Proper Dickens Properly done
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 03/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There has recently been a rebirth of Dickens mini-series and I believe that this is one of the best. For some reason, Dickens is best known for his depressing stuff (a Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations) but Martin Chuzzlewit is a robust melodrama and it translates very well to the screen.There are actually two Martins in this movie, Martin senior, the wealthy old man who is suspicious of everyone, and his grandson and namesake who Martin Sr. has disinherited. With the heir apparent out of the way, Martin Sr.'s money grubbing relations move in to try to get themselves a piece of the pie when the old man dies. The sneakiest and most odious of the lot is the hypocrytical Mr. Pecksniff. (Look closely, do you recognize the Dashwood sister's father from Sense and Sensibility?) He has a slimy scheme for getting at Martin Sr.'s money and plans to use Martin jr. for it.That, in a nutshell is the plot for the first hour of the movie. Other subplots involve more of Mrtin Sr.'s relatives, the evil Jonas, the subliterate Chevy Slyme and his smooth tongued friend Tigg Montague and of course Pecksniff's daughters Mercy and Charity.All I can say is that I admire the screenwriter's skill in bringing the bulky Dickens tome down to size. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book but I can see it would be difficult to make even a 5 hour mini-series out of it. They eliminate a few minor subplots and almsot all of the American adventure. (This is just as well, Dickens had visited America, hated it, and ranted about the fact through the mouths of his characters for several long passages in the book, very amusing but not the stuff TV drama is made of)Anyone who has seen the original illustartions for the book will be delighted by the movie since the casting, costuming and hair styling is such that the actors look as if they have stepped out of the book. (Tom Pinch and Pecksniff are especially close)A great deal of fun though it takes some time to get into it. My only complaint is that on the box there is a picture that gives away a key plot twist! This was very sloppy and ruined some of the movie for me. My advice, don't look at the box too closely before you pop the tape in if you still want some suprises...."
Excellent and enjoyable. An instant classic.
Marcy Gomez | Kansas City, USA | 02/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame that not enough people seem to know about "Martin Chuzzlewit," based on Charles Dickens' novel.The story centers on wealthy, old Martin Chuzzlewit (Paul Scofield). His many relatives believe that he is at death's door, so they swarm about him like a bees angling to get a piece of his fortune. He is estranged from his namesake and grandson, young Martin, and is accompanied about town by his young companion, Mary Graham. Chief among his many relatives is the hypocritical and fastidious Mr. Pecksniff (wonderfully portrayed by the versatile Tom Wilkinson - "Full Monty," "In the Bedroom") and his daughters Charity (Emma Chambers) and Mercy (Julia Sawalha - "AbFab" and "Pride and Prejudice"). He invites young Chuzzlewit into his home only to banish him without explanation weeks later. Young Martin has to fend for himself and leaves for America with his faithful helper Mark Tapley in search of fortune. The cast is sold and strong - the round of colorful relatives and acquantances including the conniving and greedy Jonas Chuzzlewit, his father (and old Martin's twin) Anthony Chuzzlewit, the humble and sweet Tom Pinch, and the scoundrel Montague Tigg (Pete Postlethwaite). The story has everything you would expect from a Dickens novel - romance, tragedy, satire, good deeds rewarded and the bad guys getting their just desserts. The high production values are what you would expect from the BBC.I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot or excellent British drama. If you enjoyed "Our Mutual Friend" or "Middlemarch," check this one out. You won't be disappointed."
GREAT Escape Entertainment
jeanneb | New York United States | 02/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Truly, one of the best I have ever seen and yes, do like to watch over and over again... I had a "Dickens" of a time in the mid 90's trying to find this video a while after it was first presented on PBS, but at the then discounted price of $60, it was very well worth it!It's an enthralling tale you become one with...you feel as though you are an observer on the sidelines trying to keep score as this thoroughly amusing bunch of people go from scene to scene, fleshing out Dickens' tale that portrays many of the worst and also the good and decent qualities of human behavior. The actors are THAT believable and so right in their respective roles!I find though that I have to listen carefully in a few parts of this story, as the words said in the thick English slangy accent from a few of the characters can pass me by.Altogether this is a truly superb show that unlike so much else out there, I will never tire of seeing again and again!"
Dickens' at Its Best
BeVirtuous | United States | 11/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't understand or like Dickens' story-telling until I watched this film. Something clicked as to how he (Dickens) protrays the morals in his characters and his style of writing. The Elder Martin Chuzzlewit at first seems like a dumb, cranky old man who complains much. He treats his grandson (Martin) cruelly when younger Martin falls in love with his charge, Mary. To earn a living, so that he can marry Mary, younger Martin sets out to find his fortune in America--where it turns into a disaster and he nearly dies! During the tale of the story we also meet Tom Pinch (who is one of my favorite characters), his sister (Ruth--another favorite), the arrogant Mr. Pecksniff and his two daughters ("Cherry" and "Merry"), the evil Jonas, and the kind-hearted old man (Mr. Chuffey), to name a few.This is just the cream of the story, and doesn't do any justice in telling you of the example of nobility, honor, and righteous character Dickens' protrays in this story. I could watch this the film over and over and not tire of it. The surprise ending is the best part. I always have to watch it several times before ending the movie. =) You will not be disappointed with this film."
Amazing acting brings this tale to light
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 11/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can truly be said of this magnificent adaptation of MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT is that the incredible ensemble of fine veteran actors makes this Dickens classic leap from the page.Elizabeth Spriggs as Mrs.Gamp and Emma Chambers as Charity Pecksniff particularly made me laugh with glee as well as caused such a deep sense of respect for these wonderful ladies of the theatre.The entire cast is absolutely over the top in all ways.Truly one of the most enjoyable adaptations of anything brought to the screen.You must pay careful attention to the low English slang used by some of the characters.It can be a bit dodgey for these American ears.BUY THIS.THIS IS A KEEPER."