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David Copperfield (1983)

TV Movie  |   |  Animation  |  1983 (Australia)
6.5
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The classic tale of David Copperfield's life is brought to the screen in this entertaining animated feature for your kids and family. Many say this famous story of the fates and fortunes of... See full summary »

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(script) (as Alex Buzo) , (novel)
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Title: David Copperfield (TV Movie 1983)

David Copperfield (TV Movie 1983) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Credited cast:
Ross Higgins ...
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Phillip Hinton ...
(voice)
...
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Judy Nunn ...
(voice)
...
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Robin Stewart ...
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John Stone ...
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The classic tale of David Copperfield's life is brought to the screen in this entertaining animated feature for your kids and family. Many say this famous story of the fates and fortunes of a young man in 19th century England is Dickens' own. And whose life hasn't been touched by cruelty of Mr. Creakle, the kindness of a Micawber, the thievery of a Uriah Heep, and the endearing love of an Anges Wickfield. Written by Anonymous

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1983 (Australia)  »

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Version of Le théâtre de la jeunesse: David Copperfield (1965) See more »

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Among my favourites from Burbank Films Australia
20 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

My top 3 from this studio have always been Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I'd put their adaptation of David Copperfield on the same level. Of their Dickens adaptations, this is by far the best one, the rest were relatively decent(Nicholas Nickleby) to shockingly disappointing(The Old Curiosity Shop). David Copperfield is one of Charles Dickens' masterpieces, but Dickens' writing is so detailed, he always did say a lot about a little, and sometimes very complicated, so I am always dubious about whether an animated adaptation would work. This David Copperfield does succeed wonderfully. The animation is very handsome especially in the very meticulous backgrounds, and there is that Dickens Victorian atmosphere. The character designs aren't too stiff either.

The music is hauntingly beautiful and the dialogue while simplified to make it more accessible to the target audience is intelligent and flows well. The storytelling was a pleasant surprise for me, I was worried about how it would work in such a short space of time but apart from a couple of awkward transitions it does. Not only that, it didn't feel that rushed and while there are some bits inevitably omitted it was largely true to the story and there were plenty of scenes I recognised. The scene with Mr Creakle and the school Salem's House did feel overplayed, but Dora's final moments and the ending were very moving and I enjoyed very much the Micawber, Dan Peggotty and Uriah Heep scenes.

The characters made a great impression, David is immediately identifiable and the Peggottys are wonderfully benevolent as is Betsy Trotwood once you see past her eccentricity and temperament. Murdstone is cold and vile if not quite as chilling as he is in the book- for example he has a cane but if he succeeded in punishing David with it he would have been even more terrible than he was- or other adaptations. And I loved Micawber's gentleness and Uriah Heep's creepiness. Steerforth is also true to character, a close friend though lacking in character. Creakle however is on the over-the-top side and I forgot about him soon after sadly. The voice acting is generally good, much more consistent than Burbank's adaptations of Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

Of course, there are a couple of characters that don't quite come off so well, young David is generally voiced with enthusiasm and spirit but a couple of the more emotional scenes(like the news of his mother's death) seemed forced. And for me, Mr Creakle is lacking in subtlety and Jane Murdstone seemed underplayed to me. However I found adult David very emotive in delivery, as well as Dora(here interesting the spitting image of David's mother) and Agnes. Clara Peggotty's voice actress is very sympathetic, and Betsy's captures her character's characteristics with ease. Murdstone's voice actor has a sinister edge even if his clipped accent comes across as somewhat clichéd. Micawber has one of those voices that is enthusiastic while showing that essential gentle side and Heep is deliciously snake-like.

All in all, not quite perfect but as far as Burbank Films Australia's resume goes it is one of my favourites of theirs. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox


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