Dickens of London
DVD | Box Set
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Featuring a stellar cast, this 13-part Masterpiece Theatre mini-series traces the extraordinary life of Charles Dickens (portrayed by Roy Dotrice) from his penniless childhood in Chatham and London during the 1820s, to the unprecedented success he later enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic. This 5 DVD Set includes the bonus disc An Audience with Charles Dickens, a recreation of Dicken's public performance of "A Christmas Carol," starring celebrated actor Simon Callow.
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Top customer reviews
It begins pretty much on the right track, showing Charles Dickens as a young boy with his father and their "adventures" together. Much of the concentration tends to be on his father as much as on Charles, almost in a comedic way, showing the influence he had on his son.
It is pretty much right on, giving us a glimpse of the early life of this Victorian author, including his unfortunate occupation in a blacking factory. No child labor laws here!
Next we see Charles as a young man, beginning his career as a writer. It shows us how he met his future wife, Catherine Hogarth, his obsessive love toward his sister-in-law, who, sadly, dies before the age of twenty, the strange relationship he and Kate had, and, if true, his own - dare I say it - anal personality. Yes, he did not come off as the nicest of people. Throughout these middle episodes we see Mr. Dickens' behavior continue to become rather eccentric, and not necessarily in a good way. He grows to be, at least in my eyes, an unlikable person, one who can snap at any moment; one who does not treat his wife nor his friends in an agreeable manner. (Although Kate comes off as a bit of a winer. Then again, he did marry her and not her sister, right?). This also shows the famous author as a womanizer, an unfortunate truth. And, according to this, much of his flirting was thrown directly into Kate's face. If this is true, she deserved to be a winer. I am assuming here that this is correct, seeing that the Charles Dickens Museum folk gave their support for this project.
Then this biography takes some odd twists and turns, especially devoting a complete (wasted) episode on a bizarre encounter with Edgar Allen Poe, and another, well, WASTED episode where he does magic tricks. A bit of editing could have put both of these encounters onto one episode.
The series, as a biography, ends a bit quicker than expected in that, for his earlier novels such as The Old Curiosity Shop or the Pickwick Papers, more time is spent than, say, Martin Chuzzlewit. And the fact that the importance of Chuzzlewit selling poorly was imperative to the writing of "A Christmas Carol" was barely touched upon.
And that's where the series ends, except for another wasted episode called 'Memories,' the very last of the series. Why was this last episode, which harkens back to young boy Charles, even made? Except for showing the death of his father, it's useless as a biography.
It's these wasted episodes, which, for taking up so much of our time, had little bearing on his life, that anger me. I would have rather had the drama show the complete reason in his writing "Carol" and the after effects it had rather than the three wasted episodes I mentioned.
All in all, this is OK to watch once, but not worthy of your hard-earned cash in a purchase.
I never finished watching it and donated it to Friends of
the Library sale.....wasted my money.+