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The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1947)

 -  Drama  -  3 December 1947 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 437 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 8 critic

Nineteenth century England. When Nicholas Nickleby's father dies and leaves his family destitute, his uncle, the greedy moneylender, Ralph Nickleby, finds Nicholas a job teaching in a ... See full summary »

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Title: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1947)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Bond ...
...
Mary Merrall ...
...
...
Athene Seyler ...
Alfred Drayton ...
...
Vida Hope ...
Roy Hermitage ...
Aubrey Woods ...
Patricia Hayes ...
Phoebe
Cyril Fletcher ...
Mr.Mantalini / Alfred Mantalini
Fay Compton ...
Cathleen Nesbitt ...
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Storyline

Nineteenth century England. When Nicholas Nickleby's father dies and leaves his family destitute, his uncle, the greedy moneylender, Ralph Nickleby, finds Nicholas a job teaching in a repulsive school in Yorkshire. Nicholas flees the school taking with him one of the persecuted boys, Smike, and they join a troop of actors. Nicholas then has to protect Smike, while trying to stop his Uncle Ralph taking advantage of his sister Kate, and later his sweetheart, Madeline Bray, whose father is in debtors prison. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

3 December 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nicholas Nickleby  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite his prominent billing, Cyril Fletcher only appears in one scene, and is on screen for only three minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Nicholas Nickleby (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Uneven but worth a watch
12 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

To a certain extent the Ealing Studios version of "Nicholas Nickleby" was a victim of bad timing. How could it possibly compare with David Lean's superb adaptations of "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist" made around the same period. It was a fate that was later to befall Milos Forman's "Valmont" that unfortunately appeared at the same time as the Stephen Frears version of "Dangerous Liaisons". And yet Cavalcanti's foray into Dickens has partly itself to blame for its very unevenness. One can hardly blame the quality of the book, as some have done, when David Lean did such inspired things with a similarly lesser Dickens work such as "Oliver Twist". Admittedly "Nickleby" through its considerably greater length does pose problems of adaptation to the under two-hour format, but one can only admire just how much of the original narrative has been crammed in. As will by now be evident, this review is something of a mass of contradictions. On the one hand there are some scenes that work remarkably well, the early sequence at Dotheboys Hall for instance with the terrible Squeers menage all hamming it most entertainingly - Alfred Drayton and Sybil Thorndike could hardly be bettered. And there are others that quite frankly are something of a bore, many of the Nickleby family scenes where the acting ranging for Derek Bond's colourless Nicholas, Sally Ann Howes's simpering Kate and Mary Merrall's embarrassingly silly mother are the stuff of village hall rep. This is one of those films that both excite and annoy. However with so much that is forgettable there is one performance that remains quite unforgettable. Sir Cedric Hardwiche's Uncle Ralph is a beautifully controlled study of wickedness. His comeuppance at the end, when he is pursued by police to the upper floor of his house, brought out the very best in Cavalcanti. In a film where so much of the direction is flat and uninspired, this sequence with its camera virtuosity and expressionistic shadows is extraordinarily exciting. Although overall this version of "Nicholas Nickleby" ranks rather low in the Dickensian cinematic canon, it is not one to be overlooked entirely.


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