Interesting watching this film from a historical point of view. The silent three-reel adaptation of Charles Dicken's first novel starred the popular American comedian John Bunny. I found the first reel " The Honourable Event," on you-tube, apparently the second reel " The Adventure of the Shooting Party," is lost and the third reel " The Westgate Seminary " still survives in the British Film Institute National Archive. The film I watched begins with John Bunny as Samuel Pickwick leaving his English town-house to take a carriage ride to meet his friends. They stop and Pickwick greets Mr.Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Jingle introduces himself to Mr. Pickwick. They journey on in a most elaborate coach until they reach their destination where Mr.Pickwick asks them to dine with him. After watching them dine, a drunken Tupman and Jingle leave the passed out Pickwick and Winkle to prepare for a ball. Mr.Tupman borrows Mr.Winkles clothes and Mr.Jingles wears them to the ball. The gallant Mr. Jingle escorts Mrs. Budger to her carriage and a jealous Dr.Slammer gives Jingle defiance. Mr.Tupman sneaks Mr.Winkles borrowed clothes back into his room while he is asleep. Next morning a caller comes requesting to see the slim gentleman who wore the Pickwickian uniform to the ball, and Mr.Winkle who owns the clothes, believes he must of insulted someone while intoxicated the night before. Hungover, the confused Mr.Winkle accepts Dr.Slammer's challenge to a duel. The frightened Mr. Winkle carries on to the assigned place and just as the pistols are drawn Dr.Slammer declares "Stop! This is not the man who insulted me!" A shaken but relieved Mr. Winkle happily rejoins Mr. Pickwick and his friends. All is well until Dr.Slammer and his assistants arrive to greet Mr.Pickwick when Mr.Jingle is recognized as the insulter and a very indignant Dr.Slammer tells off Mr.Pickwick and leaves. The End. The films story is only made comprehensible through the inter-titles and that was the best way I could synopsis this film for the reader. Although John Bunny looks great as Mr.Pickwick, the short screen time he is given is disappointing and he is unable to use any of his comical talents. However, the film excels with perfect period costumes and it's excellent use of outdoor locations, and you can see why it was praised for using settings " that Dickens had in mind". The cab which features in this first episode was apparently specially built from the only survivor of its kind, and is now in the British Museum. Sadly this adaptation lacks dramatic action and is quite unadventurous making it's story hard to follow and as I stated earlier the interest of this film is more historical than entertaining.
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