Charles Emma Darwin movie | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Emma Darwin movie

Capturing Darwin's Dilemma

Alfred Wallace writing letter

NOVA: In a film about Darwin, why did you open with a scene about Alfred Wallace?

John Goldsmith: That's where the story begins. Always begin at the beginning. The whole concept of the film was to take a piece of Darwin's life and tell the story of On the Origin of Species and evolution generally within that framework, right? And the trigger for Darwin publishing anything on evolution was this letter that came out of the blue from Wallace. It's kind of like a spear thrown that goes thunk! into Darwin's heart as he sits there peacefully in Down House in North Kent. It's really where the story starts.

Charles and Emma DarwinIn the script, you describe the set using Wallace's own words. What research did you do for this?

Well, Wallace, God bless him, wrote lots of autobiography. As well as collecting and selling specimens, he wrote books. And he wrote a book about his experiences in Borneo and Malacca, and that book contains a description of his room.

Charles Darwin and son in studyIt's one of many instances where you tied your details—dialogue and sets and other parts of the script—to historical documents, which I found impressive.

As far as I could, because even if one can't precisely get it right in terms of props and production, at least the whole team knew what we were aiming for.

A letter penned by the young English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (Rhys Bevan-John) sets the drama in motion. Enlarge Photo credit: © WGBH Educational Foundation/National Geographic Television

When we first see Darwin, he's in his study. He's making a beehive out of cardboard. What impression did you want to give of him right away?

Charles reading letter with EmmaWell, that's an interesting example. You know, more is known about Darwin than he even knew about himself, because he wrote incessant letters. He was virtually a recluse for most of his life, and his equivalent of the telephone and e-mail was the postal service. So lots and lots of letters. And there's a wonderful thing online now, the Darwin Correspondence Project. The crucial years that I was interested in, they're all there.

I wanted to know exactly what he was doing on the date when the story starts. And I managed, by going through all this correspondence, to discover that he had just received a letter from his brother Erasmus and was making this little model beehive. Erasmus had sent him a drawing and instructions on how to make it, and that's what he was doing.

That's remarkable, that you pinned down that moment.

If it had been any other subject, really, one wouldn't have bothered. One would have made something up. But the world is full of Darwin experts who know what he had for tea on May the 4th of 1862, down to the last lump of sugar, and they're all sitting there with their pencils poised.

Charles with Annie Darwin Emma Darwin played by Frances O'Connor

MELVILLE, DARWIN, AND THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING.(Herman Melville's influence on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution): An article from: Studies in American Fiction
Book (Northeastern University)

New Charles Darwin film is 'too controversial..'

by B_l_i_n_d

...for religious American audiences
A new British film about Charles Darwin has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film's producer.
Creation follows the British naturalist's 'struggle between faith and reason' as he wrote his 1859 book, On The Origin Of The Species.
The film, directed by Jon Amielm was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has now been sold to almost every territory in the world

Half of Britons do not believe in evolution

by cheaande

Great Britain is catching up to the U.S. when it comes to the rejection of evolution by natural selection.
'Half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about, according to a survey.
The poll found that 25% of Britons believe Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is “definitely true”, with another quarter saying it is “probably true”. Half of the 2,060 people questioned were either strongly opposed to the theory or confused about it.'

Hotbed of biodiversity: Fascinating images of wildlife from the Galapagos Islands  — Mother Nature Network
Located 575 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this remote volcanic archipelago is famous as the birthplace of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Halcyon Press Ltd. The Essential Darwin: On the Origins of Species, The Descent of Man (Unexpurgated Edition) (Halcyon Classics)
eBooks (Halcyon Press Ltd.)
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