Feb. 25th, 2009

morgannalefey: (Default)
I have a fondness for Charles Dickens' stories. I really enjoy tales of comeuppance. Thing is, I can't stand -reading- Dickens. Ok, to be fair, I haven't tried for many years, so maybe that's changed, but in the past I've never been able to stand reading his stuff. But I still love the stories! Make sense? :)

Masterpiece classic just ran a new Oliver Twist that I really liked. Way better than the musical "Oliver" (which I usually find well... meh). It has elements to the story that I didn't realize were there because I'm most familiar with "Oliver".

I didn't realize Fagin was a Jew, for one thing. His obdurate refusal to become Christian to save his own life did much to redeem him in my eyes. That whole court scene is completely missing from "Oliver", of course, which gives a "happy" ending of sorts for Fagin and Dodger. What I can't decide is if Dickens was trying to elevate Fagin with that refusal, showing that Fagin did, at least, have -some- principles and strength of character, or if he was trying to show Jews as obstinate, stubborn fools who would rather die than save themselves.

I was much more satisfied with Dodger's ending than "Oliver" ever gave me. His becoming, effectively, Bill Sikes seemed very real to me, and it struck me that Dickens probably knew people who had such reactions to privations and abuses. It's common enough.

Nancy's brokenness was painful to see, but much more realistic, as well. I don't know how much of this was in the original Dickens or was the actress and director bringing modern understandings of abuse relationships and poverty into the delivery of it. One can't help but think Dickens must have known women like her, as well. I think in this telling of the tale, they managed to portray Nancy poignantly. She touches the heart, but you still see her flaws plainly.

I recommend this retelling. It was good. :)

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morgannalefey

April 2010

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