6.6/10
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4 user 3 critic

Mr. Quilp (1975)

The Old Curiosity Shop (original title)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Jill Bennett ...
Sarah-Jane Varley ...
...
Grandfather / Edward Trent
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yvonne Antrobus ...
Sue Barbour ...
Stiltdancer
David Battley ...
Windsor Davies ...
George, Mrs. Jarley's asst.
...
Tom Scott (as Philip Davis)
Peter Duncan ...
...
Furnaceman
Chris Greener ...
Giant
Rosalind Knight ...
Mrs. George
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Storyline

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Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

25 January 1979 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Quilp  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was reviewed on the very first episode of Siskel & Ebert's original program, OPENING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU in 1975. See more »

Connections

Version of The Alcoa Hour: The Small Servant (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quite good musical version of The Old Curiosity Shop
5 October 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Has much to recommend but could have been better as well. The book is not Dickens at his best, it has some very nice comic scenes, Quilp is one of Dickens' most memorable villains and personally I find Little Nell's death moving. It is however not as tight structurally and the overall narrative at times on the weak side. It is an interesting read, just not a great read. It's no Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby Our Mutual Friend and A Tale of Two Cities but it's not his absolute weakest, Barnaby Rudge while also interesting is Dickens' weakest book.

This musical version is not the best adaptation, the one with Trevor Peacock holds that honour, the Peter Ustinov version is very good also especially for Tom Courtenay's vivid and scary Quilp. It's also not the worst, the animated Burbank Films Australia version from the 80s is. As an adaptation and on its own it's quite good. The songs, especially Sport of Kings and Happiness Pie, are above decent, sung entertainingly performed and move the narrative forward. Just that they're also not songs that'll stay in the mind for a long time. Every Dog Has His Day should have been intact, a crucial element to the story and Quilp's character is depicted in the song(when he realises he's been cheated) and the omission didn't make sense really The choreography is generally spirited and well-directed though with some lethargic spots. Elmer Bernstein's musical direction is more than adept.

With the production values, they're nicely done. The costumes and sets are attractive without being too clean and it has atmosphere without being too dreary. The photography doesn't undermine things, not award-worthy though a long way from amateurish. The story is compellingly adapted, Anthony Newley, who was responsible for the songs, and Michael Tuchner deserve credit for making much of what he has and successfully makes the comic scenes funny(the interrupted tea party is hilarious), the tragic scenes poignant and the darker bits suspenseful. Newley also plays Quilp here and he is brilliant, he manages to make Quilp scary but doesn't forget the twisted comical side to him.

David Hemmings is a sympathetic Swiveller and David Warner's Samuel Brass is beautifully played. As Michael Hordern's nuanced and deeply felt Grandfather. The Little Nell of Sarah-Jane Varley is just lovely and innocent, if somewhat too-good-to-be-true. All in all, quite good musical Dickens version without being the best or worst adaptations of the book. Oliver! and Scrooge are much more memorable however. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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