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The Bicentennial of Charles Dickens' Birth
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Little Dorrit

The Bicentennial of Charles Dickens' Birth - Mondays in December

In honor of his 200th birthday on February 7, 2012, TCM presents its largest-ever festival of films based on the work of Charles Dickens, the incomparable British writer, serialist and businessman extraordinaire.

We're celebrating a bit early since the Dickens name is inextricably woven into the fabric of the holiday season thanks to his much-filmed classic A Christmas Carol. In fact, our festival includes one of the most requested films yet to air on TCM: the 1951 A Christmas Carol, considered by many to be the definitive screen adaptation, with Brian Desmond Hurst directing an outstanding cast headed by Alastair Sim in a magnificent portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, Dickens (1812-1870) would become -- and remain -- the most popular English writer of the Victorian era. He is among the most-filmed of all writers, with dozens of his books and stories having been adapted (many repeatedly) for movies and television.

Another premiere in our festival is The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), starring Claude Rains as an obsessive choirmaster who may be guilty of murder. The 1938 A Christmas Carol features Reginald Owen, while the musical Scrooge (1970) stars Albert Finney. And Oliver Twist will be shown in both its 1922 and 1948 incarnations.

A Tale of Two Cities is also screening in two versions, released in 1935 and 1958, along with such other landmark Dickens-inspired productions as David Copperfield (1935), Great Expectations (1946) and Little Dorrit (1988), pictured above.

by Roger Fristoe
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