Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Jim Goddard, 1982, 8 hrs. (8.8*)
Brilliantly conceived and executed, this filming of the eight-hour stage production by the Royal Shakespeare Company covers four DVD's, and remains one of the greatest theatrical productions in history, accurately adapting a Charles Dickens novel for perhaps the first time in the history of dramatic arts. Only 39 actors portray over 250 roles in this massive production, which gave theatre-goers two ways to see the play: over four weekday nights, two hours per night, or in an all-day Saturday performance with a one hour lunch break! Roger Rees has the title role in a star-making breakthrough - I can't imagine the hundreds of pages of dialogue he had to memorize in order to give this performance in a day. All the actors are superb, and director Jim Goddard involves the audience by having some characters appear from within the audience, and some actors leave the stage to run or walk through the audience.

This is the British stage at its best. Forget all the other versions of Nickleby, if you only see one Dickens novel adapted in your lifetime, this is the one!


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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