Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dickens Masterpiece Spring 2012 Preview

As we wrap up our month long celebration of Charles Dickens, we still have much to look forward to in 2012, the bicentennial year of Dickens’ birth.  Masterpiece is bringing out two new adaptations of Dickens’ work, Great Expectations on April 1st and 8th and The Mystery of Edwin Drood on April 15th.  I’ve really enjoyed the Masterpiece Dickens over the past few years, especially Bleak House and Little Dorrit. Let’s take a quick look at these new adaptations . . .
Great Expectations
The description of the mini-series on Masterpiece’s website is as follows:

“An orphan boy meets an escaped convict, a crazed rich woman, a bewitching girl, and grows up to have great expectations of wealth from a mysterious patron, on Great Expectations, Charles Dickens' remarkable tale of rags to riches to self-knowledge, starring Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, Bleak House), David Suchet (Hercule Poirot), Ray Winstone, and Douglas Booth.
Anderson appears as one of Dickens' most haunting creations: Miss Havisham, a bride-to-be who was jilted at the altar years before. Newcomer Booth stars as Pip, the promising young man who is snared in Miss Havisham's lair.

Great Expectations airs during the bicentennial of Dickens' birth and marks the fifteenth Masterpiece adaptation of the great novelist's works."

Watch Great Expectations Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.
Whenever I think of Great Expectations in cinema, I think of the rather sad modern day adaptation in the 1990’s starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Luckily, from the preview on Masterpiece’s website (above) , it looks like this adaptation will be much more faithful to the novel.  What do you think of the preview?  I am officially intrigued although I think the music doesn’t really go with the preview at all and I think that Gillian Anderson makes a much younger and much more beautiful Miss Havisham than I ever envisioned while reading the novel.  She was an excellent Lady Dedlock in Bleak House and I am intrigued to see what new depths she brings to Miss Havisham.
Great Expectation already premiered on BBC in Great Britain in December.  I’ve read some of the reviews, and it appears that it was a critical success.  The only negative point I kept reading was that Douglas Booth, the actor who plays a grown up Pip, is too beautiful to be Pip.  Pip in the novel is always pining after Estelle and the reviewers think this this version, it should be the other way around.  I don’t have a problem having a handsome hero to gaze at . . . what about you?  I am excited to see this new version!
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was Charles Dickens’ last unfinished novel, with only half being completed before his death.  I haven’t read it or ever watched a version of it so it will be all new to me.  Unfortunately Masterpiece does not have a summary or preview up of this movie yet.  It did air on BBC in Great Britain in January with an original ending written by Gwyneth Hughes (see a great interview here about her writing process ).  I did find a preview trailer from the BBC on YouTube. ).
What are your thoughts?  I thought the trailer was very exciting and can’t wait to watch it.  Dickens knows how to go dark, but this looks like Dickens was going in a much darker direction in his last novel. Opium addiction, murder, mystery, and love – it all sounds like a very intriguing story.
Reviews call it a “thriller (and a) story of human passions and fatal weaknesses,” “not to be missed,” and “thrilling!”  It sounds like another must see Masterpiece movie and I can’t wait to watch it. 
I will post full reviews after watching both of these adaptations in April.  Which one are you more excited to see?  What are your thoughts?  What Dickens novel do you think deserves a new adaptation?

1 comment:

  1. Shame on me, I have never read Dickens! I do like Masterpiece Theater, they produce such wonderful