When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to London to work for a living. When David escapes to his aunt Betsey his life starts to get better. Written by
W. H. Henry, who had taken the role of Eustace McGargle in the London version of POPPY, desperately wanted the role of Mr. Micawber, but his wife was deathly ill, and he would not leave her bedside. He recommended that W.C. Fields be given the role, and the studio eventually complied. Other reports say that it was Charles Laughton who recommended Fields for the role, because he did not feel that he was giving a good performance as Micawber. Laughton had similar feelings while he was playing the title role of I, Claudius (1937). See more »
Micawber, an Englishman, speaks with an American accent (see trivia). See more »
Film opens with the last sentence of Charles Dickens's preface to the original edition: "Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts, a favourite child, and his name is David Copperfield." See more »
This version of David Copperfield is a little disappointing in that the lead characters (David, Agnes, Steerforth, Little Em'ly) are somewhat bland and don't reveal their depth of feeling or passion. But the actors who play the supporting characters are so superb that this version is worth seeking out for those who love Dickens' work. Aunt Betsy, Uriah Heep, Mr. Dick, Mr. Micawber, Dan Peggotty and Ham are fleshed out by actors who have true spark and understand that their characters are supposed to be a little larger than life.
W.C. Fields can act- he's not just playing himself here. Although Mr. Micawber is a somewhat Fields-ish fellow, Fields adds a touching sincerity to Micawber's belief that he will come out ahead someday to everyone's benefit. Micawber's denunciation of Uriah Heep is both fun and close to what one can picture from the novel.
A lot of plot is left out, since you can't really cram an epic like that into a 2 hour film- the BBC miniseries is better for depth of character and filling in plot holes- but this 1935 version can be considered a classic for those looking for a nice large-screen adaptation with some incredibly good character actors.
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