Little Dorrit was intended as the cinematic equivalent to the mammoth, eight-hour Royal Shakespeare Company's staging of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickelby. The film was released to theaters in two parts, each running approximately three hours. The first part, subtitled "Nobody's Fault," introduced us to the seamstress title character (Sarah Pickering), who chooses to live in debtor's prison with her father (Alec Guinness). Good Samaritan Arthur Clennam (Derek Jacobi) endeavors to help both father and daughter. The second part, also known as "Little Dorrit's Story," details Dorrit's escape from penury to lasting happiness. Eschewing the usual 19th century-style British music often heard in Dickensian adaptations, director Christine Edzard creatively -- and effectively -- opts for the strains of Giuseppe Verdi. Edzard's eye for period detail is also deserving of unbounded praise. Unfortunately, part two of Little Dorrit spends nearly half of its running time recapping part one, utilizing much of the same footage. For those familiar with "Nobody's Fault," "Little Dorrit's Story" is more a redundancy than a continuation. Still, taken together, parts one and two all fully deserving of the enthusiastic critical commentary that greeted them upon their original release -- not to mention the multiple Academy Award nominations bestowed upon the project and its participants.
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