Some very greedy and selfish relatives are all after the failing old Martin Chuzzlewit's money. He is surrounded by all these sycophantic relatives that he truly despises whilst ill, each ... See full summary »
David Copperfield lives a nearly idyllic existence with his beautiful mother Clara and their housekeeper Peggotty. His life changes forever when his mother re-marries. Mr. Murdstone is a no-nonsense businessman and a strict disciplinarian who believes in corporal punishment. David is soon sent to a strict boarding school but when his mother dies, his stepfather sends him to London to work in a foul smelling factory. He forms a close friendship with Mr. Micawber and moves in with the man and his loving family but as the Micawbers are forced by circumstance to relocate, he seeks out his aunt Betsey Trotwood. She sends him to fine school and he lodges with Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes. As he grows older David is apprenticed to a law firm where he soon meets the senior partner's daughter, Dora. Life's challenges continue to confront him but with the help of friends and family, he overcomes adversity including his aunt's loss of her savings, the death of his wife and the ... Written by
I am not a great fan of the BBC classic novel serialisation, preferring to experience a drama in its entirety rather than chopped up into weekly doses. Generally a detrimental factor is that, with a greater running time than the average movie at his disposal, the TV adaptor tends to spin things out inordinately so that physical movements are often shown in their entirety, someone walking along a street or climbing a flight of stairs for instance. When it comes to Dickens adaptations the cinema generally wins hands down, those incomparable David Lean versions of "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist" for example and more recently Christine Edzard's masterly "Little Dorrit" which, although running for six hours, subtly utilised every minute by telling the tale from different perspectives. I never thought I would experience a TV adaptation to compare with these until three Christmases ago the BBC came up with a "David Copperfield" so enchanting that it remains for me the most lovable visual translation of a Dickens novel. Admittedly there is little of the wonderful montage and atmosphere of the Lean films or the profoundly observed social resonances of "Little Dorrit", but what makes the 1999 Copperfield such an overwhelming experience is the perfect casting. By some magic alchemy that I cannot begin to understand a cast of familiars was assembled that were somehow born to play their parts. The list extends far beyond the three I have chosen to mention but it is as if Pauline Quirke (Peggotty), Nicholas Lyndhurst (Uriah Heep) and Maggie Smith (Betsey Trotwood) became these characters in a way that noone else ever could. Fine actors that they are, it is difficult to imagine them achieving such perfection in other contexts.
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