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14 user 10 critic

Little Dorrit (1987)

Arthur Clennam returns to London after working abroad for many years with his now deceased father. Almost at once he becomes involved in the problems of his mother's seamstress Amy Dorrit ... See full summary »

Director:

Christine Edzard

Writers:

Charles Dickens (novel), Christine Edzard
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Arthur Clennam
Joan Greenwood ... Mrs. Clennam
Max Wall ... Flintwinch
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Affery
Luke Duckett Luke Duckett ... Young Arthur
Alec Guinness ... William Dorrit
Cyril Cusack ... Frederick Dorrit
Sarah Pickering Sarah Pickering ... Little Dorrit
Amelda Brown Amelda Brown ... Fanny Dorrit
Daniel Chatto Daniel Chatto ... Tip Dorrit
Miriam Margolyes ... Flora Finching
Bill Fraser Bill Fraser ... Mr. Casby
Roshan Seth ... Mr. Pancks
Mollie Maureen Mollie Maureen ... Mr. F.'s Aunt
Diana Malin Diana Malin ... Mr. Casby's Maid
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Storyline

Arthur Clennam returns to London after working abroad for many years with his now deceased father. Almost at once he becomes involved in the problems of his mother's seamstress Amy Dorrit and of her father residing in the Marshalsea debtors' prison. Pursuing their cause Arthur comes across a successful business opportunity and also gains a number of new acquaintances, while his and Amy's paths continue to cross. A reversal of fortune lays him low, but to fully understand how, this story must now be seen through Little Dorrit's eyes. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 December 1988 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Dorrit's Story See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,025,228
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sands, Sands Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood appeared in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), Een man in een wit pak (1951), and Father Brown (1954). See more »

Goofs

Near the end of part 1, Mr Pancks puts his finger through Arthur's coat's right lapel button hole and pulls him toward the stairs. In the next shot, at the bottom of the stairs, his finger is through a hole in the left lapel. See more »

Quotes

William Dorrit: Welcome to the Marshalsea, Sir. I have welcomed many gentlemen to these walls, please sit down Mr. Clennam. My daughter Amy may have mentioned that I am the father of this place. You'' excuse the primitive customs to which we are reduced here.
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User Reviews

 
Disappointing
29 May 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Not terrible by all means, but I did find myself underwhelmed watching this Little Dorrit. The book is such a mammoth book, an insightful and blistering piece of literature, but like a lot of Dickens' work very difficult to adapt. Previously I had seen the 2008 BBC version, which I absolutely loved, finding the performances outstanding(especially Tom Courtenay and Andy Serkis) and the whole production rich in detail.

I can definitely understand why some would have a lot of affection for the 1988 Little Dorrit. Production-values-wise it does look wonderful, with the sets evocatively rendered while never looking too clean and the costumes beautifully tailored. The photography is skillful as well. Miriam Margoyles and Pauline Quirke impress, but there are three especially outstanding performances. Derek Jacobi, whose Arthur Clennam is outstanding with an ability sometimes to say so much without saying much. Sarah Pickering whose Amy is every bit as appealing as Claire Foy in the 2088 mini-series, except here I feel the character is written in a more sympathetic way. And Alec Guinness, whose heart-wrenching performance as William Dorrit makes for one of his finest screen performances.

But I can also see why others mayn't like this version too much. Of the acting, I was disappointed in the Flintwitch of Max Wall, he is a good physical actor but saying his lines is another story, I felt he did overdo it. I do admire the effort to include as much of the dialogue as much as possible, but at the end of the day the whole script came across as too wordy and in some scenes overlong. In regards to the music, I preferred the simpler and more subtle one in the 2008 version, here it was overbearing and had a danger of drowning out the dialogue, then again it could've been to do with the sound which was rather muffled. But it was the pace and the storytelling that didn't work the most for me. I do think a slow pace was necessary in the first place considering the sprawling and mammoth nature of the story, but with the pauses, mumbling and lifeless crowd scenes I did actually find it almost insufferably dull pace-wise. And if I hadn't read the book or seen the 2008 mini-series, I don't think I would have been confused by what was going on in this adaptation. I didn't like that it was in two 3-hour parts focusing mainly on either Arthur or Amy and making other characters come and go without elaborating on much(such as Casby being called a hypocrite and the rise and fall of Mr Merdle for examples), as well omitting Tattycoram and one of Dickens' best ever characters Rigaud.

All in all, has some good stuff like the period detail and three outstanding performances, but pace and story-wise this Little Dorrit was disappointing. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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