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This review is from: Hard Times  [DVD] (DVD)
Dickens has rarely been done better on television or film. 'Hard Times' is a comparatively short Dickens novel. It has been criticised for being too polemical, for being more parable than novel. This production demonstrates that it has such firm lines of characterisation and plotting that the polemical element can be sustained without sacrificing intellectual and emotional impact. There is no need for me to go into the philosophical issues the author takes up - the story says it all, and this 1977 Granada series does them justice. The whole cast is impeccable. The art direction is stunning. The direction, camerawork and editing are faultless. There is, inevitably, some wear and tear in the image: television material from this era often did not preserve well. By that standard, this is not at all bad. The drama realised here, however, carries any technical shortcomings lightly. Fact: this is exceptional viewing.