This early feature-length film, "David Copperfield", doesn't hold up well today; moreover, it compares unfavorably with other early long films: including "Atlantis", "Ingeborg Holm", "The Student of Prague", "Traffic in Souls" and "Twilight of a Woman's Soul", which were all released in 1913 and from different nations. That's not even mentioning the superior contemporary short films. Cecil Hepworth's company, which made this "David Copperfield", made the far more cinematic "Rescued by Rover" back in 1905. Yet, "David Copperfield" is, by no means, the worst of its time, either. That its camera wasn't nailed to the proscenium arch of a stage raises it above some other filmed plays.
Nevertheless, this photoplay consists of shot-scenes (that is, no scene dissection) from long shot positions. In outdoor scenes, there's some awkward panning to keep action within frame--instead of using editing. In indoor scenes, the camera is a bit closer to the action, and the camera remains stationary. Acting is broad and theatrical, including the actor playing Uriah Heep constantly rubbing his hands in clichéd villainous fashion, but I've seen worse, and it's the least of this picture's problems. Most of the storytelling is told through title cards rather than shown cinematically, so it's no more than book illustrations to a truncated plotting of Dickens's novel. With so many of the early feature-length productions being of similar or worse quality than this "David Copperfield", it's a wonder they ever supplanted the one and two reel formats.
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