Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are ... See full summary »
When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to London to work for a living. When David escapes to his aunt Betsey his life starts to get better.Written by
Charles Laughton was originally cast as Micawber, but resigned from the role after two days of shooting. It was said at the time that "he looked as though he were about to molest the child." Despite this, Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester was retained for the role of Micawber's servant Clickett although her part was cut down considerably in the editing room. See more »
Mr Micawber chases away David's tormentors and puts his arm around him, but the arm is gone in the next immediate shot. In all scenes with W.C. Fields there are indeed continuity errors that editing does not mask. See more »
Film opens with the last sentence of Charles Dickens's preface to the original edition: "Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts, a favourite child, and his name is David Copperfield." See more »
Also shown in a computer colorized version. See more »
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Words attributed to Heinrich Suso (14th century)
Latin Translated to English by John M. Neale
Partially Sung and played during the opening credits See more »
Having always heard of David Copperfield, but never having read the novel nor seen the movie, I finally decided to check out the DVD. I found it quite enjoyable with an all-star cast and good Dickensian backdrops.
I have always loved W.C. Fields, but have to disagree with those who say he steals the show. Although he is perfect as Mcawber, to me it is Edna May Oliver who steals the picture. She is delightful as the dotty aunt – especially standing up to Mr. and Miss Murdstone with the loony backing of Mr. Dick (a charming Lennox Pawle).
Of course Lionel Barrymore always makes the most of a part and does so as the gruff fisherman Dan Peggotty. Freddie Bartholomew is excellent as the young David. Elizabeth Allen is gorgeous and delightful as David's mother, while Basil Rathbone and Violet Kemble Cooper are cold and devious as the step-father and his housekeeper sister.
The entire cast is excellent, including Jessie Ralph as Peggotty and Herbert Mundin as the 'willing' Barkis. My only complaint – and this is from one who hasn't read the book – is that the miscellaneous characters get a bit confusing. A guy who apparently had been nice to David in school runs off with and abandons the adopted daughter of Peggotty's brother. Then two men fight during a shipwreck and David sees his school friend dead. Perhaps things were better spelled out in the book.
In any event, it is a quite charming film. Oliver and Field are delightful, along with the rest of the talented cast. I doubt that as better adaptation could be done today.
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