Dan Stevens to Portray Charles Dickens

Dan Stevens to Portray Charles Dickens

Dan Stevens — the actor once-upon-a-time who played Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey — has been cast to play Charles Dickens in a new movie to be titled The Man Who Invented Christmas. This is a project both to greatly anticipate and to loathe. The story of Dickens and his creation of A Christmas Carol is a great Christmas story in it’s own right. We celebrate Dickens after 200 years because A Christmas Carol has become such an integral part of our modern Christmas celebrations that we cannot think of Christmas without it. The Christmas music world clings to White Christmas as it’s standard. The film world claims It’s A Wonderful Life as it’s Christmas gold star. But A ChristmasRead more

Charles Dickens Day

Charles Dickens Day

Today marks 322 days until Christmas leaving just 45 weeks until the big day. It is also the 204th birthday of Charles Dickens, who was born on this day in 1812. The name of Charles Dickens can hardly be said these days without thinking of Christmas. While his career spanned decades with volumes of legendary written works it is his story of A Christmas Carol that keeps his name on the lips of Christmas lovers everywhere. The young life of Charles Dickens clearly influenced both the story and the message of A Christmas Carol. He lived a tough existence during a time when little thought was given to child labor laws. The poor of Great Britain were a central themeRead more

Reading Dickens

Reading Dickens

Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol backwards and forwards. Pick a version by decade and you’re bound to find one you love. Everyone can claim to have seen a big or a small screen version of it. But have you ever read it? I confess it never passed in front of my eyes until I was an adult. It was during one of my first Christmas seasons alone — a bleak time when I felt more than sorry for myself for being alone at Christmas. I picked up the book in a store and thought I could wallow in Scrooge’s misery for a while. The written words of Dickens stunned me. While I was a prolific reader IRead more

Who is the best Jacob Marley?

Who is the best Jacob Marley?

Whether you read the book or simply watch A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every Christmas there is no getting around the point that likely the juiciest role in the whole story is that of Jacob Marley. Think about it — he’s a mournful, lost, tortured soul suffering through the depths of hell that has come back to torment his former partner and friend. How can any actor resist such a role? At day #136 in the Countdown to Christmas we have to ask — who is the best Jacob Marley? We suggest this 1984 version of Jacob Marley played by Frank Finlay, from the production starring George C. Scott as Scrooge: This is one truly psychotic Jacob Marley. WeRead more

Charles Dickens: A Merry Old Soul

Charles Dickens: A Merry Old Soul

By Jeff Westover Life and times were hard in London of 1824. For one boy in particular, the second of seven children, life was especially difficult. At the age of twelve, his father was tossed into a debtor’s prison, leaving an already poor family utterly destitute. The entire family moved into the prison with the boy’s father. And the boy set out to work — twelve hours a day, as was common for child laborers in London in the early 19th century — in a shoe polish factory. He was not poorly treated there. Fortunate that was for him, for such was common of child laborers too. But he experienced enduring shame over his family’s condition. Their poverty, their shabbyRead more