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 »
Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show, but he is short of money. He gets an offer of money by the young widow Lilian, if she can dance in his new show. Bert Keeler, a paper man, gets ... 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
Micawber, an Englishman, speaks with an American accent (see trivia). See more »
Copperfield, you perceive before you, the shattered fragments of a temple once call Man. The blossom is blighted. The leaf is withered. The God of Day goes down upon the dreary scene. In short, I am forever floored.
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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 »
Artistic and Beautifully-Mounted Production; A Sad Era Brought to Life
The artistry of George Cukor as director I suggest is everywhere in evidence in this long, faithful and artistically admirable presentation of Charles Dickens' most-esteemed work. All the author's qualities are faithfully interpreted here, I assert--a realistic British Empire background of class snobbery, long-suffering underclass humor and sublimated desperation, mawkish sentimentality and well-earned dramatic moments. David Copperfield (1935) . The script was adapted from the Dickens novel in 1935 by Hugh Walpole, with aid from Howard Estabrook and Lenore J. Coffee (uncredited). B/W Cinematography was done by Oliver T. Marsh and award level art direction by Cedric Gibbons. In the Art Department, Merrill Pye and Edwin B. Willis are billed as associate art directors, referring to fantastically complex period settings they provided. Douglas Shearer's difficult work as recording director was handled brilliantly, I suggest; Dolly Tree was credited as wardrobe head. Herbert Stothart composed the film's music, with uncredited aid from William Axt and R.H. Bassett. The long and involved story begins with young David, played by Freddie Bartholemew being born six months after his father's death to a weak, sickly woman. She is compelled for financial reasons to remarry, her choice being one Murdstone, Basil Rathbone, who with his abominable sister's help drives Davy's mother to her grave rapidly. At the mercy of his cruel stepfather, Davy is sent to work in a factory. He finally escapes this life by running to his gruff but kindly Aunt Betsy Trotwood played by Edna May Oliver. His mother's maid, Peggotty, played by Jessie Ralph and her family whom he comes to know, well form a portion of his milieu, in their home by the unrelenting sea; the other parts are his adventures in the city of London, and his school days with friends such as Steerforth, Tommy Traddles and other familiar characters from the novel; and the last, his courtship of a young woman after tragedy has struck the Peggotty family. Among the cast, Lionel Barrymore as the Peggotty patriarch, Rathbone, Roland Young as unctuous Uriah Heep. Ralph and Oliver come off best. W. C. Fields has a showy part as ne'er-do-well Mr. Micawber, and Violert Kemble-Cooper brings Jane Murdstone to life. Others in the huge cast include Freddie Bartholemew, who is fine as young Davy, Lewis Stone, Lennox Pawle, Elizabeth Allen, Elsa Lanchester, Herbert Murdin, Una O'Connor, Herbert Murdin, Hugh Williams, Frank Lawton and Madge Evans. This is a very well-made film, absorbing and cruel, tender and interesting. It is Dickens' most- respected work, and dated, in my opinion, only by his use of a child as the victim of British imperial oppression. This is a very fine early David Selznick achievement in both purpose and detail; also, I credit this film with helping to cause Hollywood producers to make many Victorian films thereafter.
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