‘I read my Dickens’: Agatha Christie’s unproduced film adaptation of Bleak House

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Abstract

In May 1962 Agatha Christie completed a rough draft of a screenplay that adapted Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House. The intention was that the film would be produced by MGM, which at the time was adapting Christie’s own works for the screen. This article looks at the surviving material related to the unrealised project and considers what it tells us about Agatha Christie and film adaptations. The previously unexplored surviving material includes correspondence and the film’s draft screenplays and film treatments, which all offer an insight into how Agatha Christie considered that a novel could be adapted for cinema screens. This is of particular interest because Christie did not write for the screen at any other point in her career, and was also sharply critical of most adaptations of her work. Therefore, this surviving material gives an indication of how Christie felt adaptations should operate. This article looks at the context of the film project, Christie’s screenplay writing process, and finally the contents of the completed rough draft script itself.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jul 2022

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