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The first half of director Christine Edzard's epic adaptation of Dickens' mammoth masterpiece recounts the tale of an innocent young seamstress (Sarah Pickering) who follows her father into debtors' prison from the perspective of her would-be benefactor, Good Samaritan Arthur Clennam (Derek Jacobi).
An epic, intelligent, marvellously cast (including Derek Jacobi, Alec Guinness and Cyril Cusack) and beautifully detailed film version of Dickens' mammoth masterpiece about a young girl who has grown up in a debtors' prison with her father, with secrecy surrounding her family history. Wedding the extended length of a television serial to the scale of the cinema screen, director Christine Edzard — backed by her dynamic cottage industry production and costume company Sands Film, which she operated with her husband Richard B. Goodwin (who served as producer on this film) — made one of the most significant Dickens adaptations of the late twentieth century. Brilliantly splitting the story into two parts-one told from the perspective of Arthur Clennam (Jacobi), the other from Dorrit (Sarah Pickering), with each half offering different angles on the same incidents — Little Dorrit "is so filled with characters, so rich in incident, that it has the expansive, luxurious feel of a Victorian novel" (Roger Ebert).