"Dickens on Screen" is a miscellanious collection of writings about the film/TV adaptations of Dickens, of which contents go as below:
INTRODUCTION: John Glavin
1 "Dickens, Psycoanalysis and film: a roundtable": Gerhard Joseph
2 "David Copperfield' home video": John Bowen
3 "David Lean's 'Great Expectations'": Regina Barreca
4 "'Great Expectations' on Aurtralian television": John O. Jordan
5 "Dickens' 'The Signalman' and Rubini's 'La Stazione'": Alesandro Vescovi
6 "Bill Murray's Christmas Carol": Murray Baumgarten
7 "Screen memories in Dickens and Woody Allen": Robert M. Polhemus
8 "Writing after Dickens: the television writer's art": John Romano
9 "Directing Dickens: Alfonso Cuaron's 1998 'Great Expectations'": Pam Katz
10 "Playing Dickens": Miriam Margoyles
11 "Cinematic Dickens and uncinematic words": Kamilla Elliott
12 "Dickens, Eisenstein, film": Garrett Stewart
13 "Orson Wells and Charles Dickens 1938-1941": Marguerite Rippy
14 "'David Copperfield (1935)' and the US curriculum": Steve J. Wurtzler
15 "Dickens, Selznick, and 'Southpark'": Jeffrey Sconce
16 "Tiny Tim on screen: a diabilities perspective": Martin F. Norden
PART V "Dickens composed: film and television adaptations 1987-2001": Kate Charnell Watt and Kate Lonsdale
Because of the space, I do not write here any in-depth summery of each writing. I only add that:
1) PART I is a record of conversations by the people from three fields (film, Dickens, psychoanalysis), including contributors, done after their watching the clip of Lean's "Oliver Twist."
2) PART 2 and 4 cover the various topics about Dickens and films. The titles are, however, sometimes misleading (# 6 essay is actually not about this talented American actor). The final results vary from impressive to mediocre (the fate of any kind of essay collection). Some are quite insightful, but I am afraid some others indulge in academic theries (call it a sea of jargon). See the title, pick it, and give it a chance.
PART 3 is most interesting (to me), but, alas! not so long. In # 9 Pam Katz tells us the inside story of how Cuaron's modernized version came to be what it is now, with several comments from the director himself. It is quite fascinating to know that Ms Paltrow's Estella was supposed to have a job (what was it? Read and find it.) And the interview with the great Margoyles is not to be missed, who gives a quite frank (and often funny) accounts of her visions about Dickensian world, and her works (she is famous for playing one Dickensian character on stage, and you know who).
The last PART 5 is a filmography, but sadly, it is not perfect. I do not lament the loss of "Ms. Scrooge" ("A Chrismas Carol" of PC era). But I was shocked to see they omit 1922 Jackie Coogan version of "Oliver Twist" from the list when they use one of its stills on the book jacket! This must be remedied right now. And unaccountably, while # 16 essay refers to the 1935 version "Scrooge," the filmography again forget to record it. And please remember, the 1997 verions of "Oliver" stars Elijah Wood, one of the stars of "LOTR." (Haven't they seen this fantastic trilogy yet?) Michael Pointer's superb filmography (or IMDB) is still indispensable.
The collection, to me, lacks the central topic, or pivot on which the whole book should be constructed, being too miscellanious. Some part are great, I am sure, but I still do not know why they made this collection. Maybe my lukewarm reaction reflects the difficulty of writing about the two types of media -- book and film -- at the same time.