Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nicholas Nickleby. Nine hours. What the Dickens?

I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company television version of Nicholas Nickleby when I was in high school, and it was only the second time that seeing something made me want to read something. The first time was when I saw I, Claudius on Masterpiece Theater and then fell in love with the book.
The RSC version of Nicholas Nickleby, which I own on VHS, was this nine-hour visual and emotional journey that was a complete joy.
Nine hours.
It's Dickens!
It is a big commitment to watch nine hours of a play, but people now watch entire seasons of shows in one day just because they can.
You will be really happy if you watch Nicholas Nickleby.
About thirty-nine actors play one hundred and fifty roles.
It is a feast for the eyes, ears, and mind.
I usually feel dismay when I hear that a book is being made into a movie, but anxiety becomes assuaged when a really long version or a series is made instead.
Like George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones.
Or Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.
Or the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.
Or Sense and Sensibility, with Emma Thompson and *sigh* Alan Rickman.
These are pretty much the only adaptations I embrace with any kind of enthusiasm.
I did not like the Ents in the LotR movies, and I did not like that the entire Shire part got deleted, but no one consulted me.
And George R.R. Martin, dude, I could do without some of the brothel scenes that have been, um, added, and some of the new plot twists are a little startling.
Again, no one thought to call me.
I know. It's HBO.
But I want the story. The story. The story.
This is why books will always be better.


  1. SNL offered its own version of why Game of Thrones has taken directions...that you mentioned. Andy Samberg plays a very important advisor to the show: a thirteen year old boy :) Sounds about right to me.

  2. I love it when they do justice to a great book. They cut other segments from LOTR too (Tom Bombadil), but on the whole I loved the movies because they felt true to the spirit of the book. I can't say they showed things how I envisaged them from the books, but the depiction still felt right.

  3. I, too, have wished the phone would ring. There's, er, so much to suggest. Thanks for this great blog and for finding me. Very happy to follow you back.

  4. I thought Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility totally beautiful too! One of my favourite films - I did enjoy the book but this film really made me love the story! Take care

  5. There's only one book that I think isn't better than the movie, and that's The Princess Bride :)

  6. Yes, books care generally better than the movies they spawn. For the sake of fitting everything into the space of 1.5 to 3 hours, lots of subplots are cut out.

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  7. I almost agree. Except I really liked the Percy Jackson movie, so I read the book, and it sucked. I'd never really had that happen before.