Originally seen on British television, this two-part filmed biography of famed Danish fantasist Hans Christian Andersen bears more resemblance to the truth than the 1952 musical with Danny Kaye, but not by much. Once again, Andersen, as played by Kieran Bew, is depicted as handsome and charming, whereas the real Hans was homely and graceless, truly the "ugly duckling" of which he wrote so eloquently. According to this film, 15 year old Hans pays a visit to a gypsy fortune teller, who prophesizes that "There will come a day when all of Copenhagen will be lit up in your honor." Our hero's inevitable journey from the village of Odense to the capital of Denmark brings him in contact with wealthy Jonas Collin (James Fox), who bankrolls the youthful writer's career. Though Hans falls in love with Collins' daughter Jette (Emily Hamilton), he dedicates most of his stories to his own beloved, clubfooted sister Jenny (Flora Montgomery). In the classic "name dropping" tradition of the great Hollywood biopics, the more Andersen's fame grows, the more he commisserates with such other literary celebrities as Charles Dickens. And of course, several of Andersen's best stories are "brought to life" via enchanting and colorful visualizations. In the US, Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale was seen on the Hallmark cable channel beginning September 8, 2002.
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