I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Awesome Adaptations (5) - The Ruby in the Smoke

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week there is a new category of adaptation to blog about. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let them know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An awesome adaptation of a mystery story
Title: Ruby in the Smoke
Adapted from The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

I really enjoyed the Sally Lockhart mysteries (though there was that one surprise in the book series that I found really heart-breaking.  I haven't really forgiven Philip Pullman for that!) And the adaptation of this first novel is equally as enjoyable to me - especially for three people: Billie Piper, JJ Feild, and Matt Smith.  Talk about stellar casting!

Billie Piper as Sally is so perfectly intelligent and down-to-earth: she's an unconventional Victorian woman who knows how to shoot a gun and balance account books - and is also wrapped up in a puzzling mystery with more than one person determined to make sure she never tells of what she knows. Unfortunately, she has no idea what that is. There are two threads of intrigue in this story making the mystery intriguingly complex and inscrutable.

JJ Feild brings that charming, teasing personality to Frederick Garland that makes him such a wonderful match for Sally Lockhart's steadfast seriousness.  In this adaptation he doesn't have too much to do, except save the day a couple of times and steal the show in every scene he is in.  Definitely he and his sister make for much needed humor in this TV movie.

The role of Jim Taylor was enlarged in this series if I remember correctly, and aged to fit Matt Smith who is perfectly cast as he is gregarious and plucky and extremely likable.  Jim Taylor helps solve the mystery and interestingly provides the narration over Sally's story.  (I can't help but think that if the Doctor was in this story, Adelaide wouldn't have been abducted!)

Really the whole cast makes this an awesome adaptation of a story filled with dark mystery, murder, opium, and ruin - all surrounding a ruby.

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  1. I am SO glad you posted this because seriously..It had JJ Field in it and I have NOT seen it! I love this meme because I get to learn about new adaptations to see..squuuuuuuuuuee!

    1. Oh good! I didn't know you hadn't seen it! I definitely recommend it, and the sequel "Shadow in the North", also with JJ. He is very Tilney-ish in these! :)

  2. This sounds really neat. We'll definitely have to check it (and the sequels) out! :)

    1. Yay! And for you, you'll have Matt Smith to look forward to. :D