A film treatment which enhances a classic comic novel
Diary of Nobody is a much-loved late-Victorian comic novel, the diary of fictitious City of London bank clerk, Charles Pooter.
Pooter accepts that he is a "nobody" but believes that he has as much right as a "somebody" to have his diary presented to the public. The humour lies in his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of self-inflicted injury, annoying encounters with disrespectful tradesmen and junior clerks at work. And of course his rather ridiculous conceit in thinking that his rather dull life will be of interest. The affection for the book is in part due to his description of his contentment with simple domestic life with his loving - and forbearing - spouse Carrie. The world of Diary of a Nobody does not seem so distant. The Pooters are sufficiently wealthy to be able to buy the occasional indulgence such as a new cottage piano - and they have a problem son, Lupin who, compared to his utterly respectable - and respectful- father, mixes with a "fast" crowd, is an idle chancer. A source of worry to both his parents, Lupin is contemptuous of his fathers well-meaning advice yet somehow manages to turn situations to his advantage. The parent's innocence fortunately shields them from fully realising their son's true character. The book has been the archetype for many films and quite a few TV situation comedies.
The happy choice here was to make a silent film, sparklingly photographed in black and white with a talented cast led by Bryan Pringle as Mr Pooter, and to have as its voice-over direct readings from the original book. The film acts as illustration to a text which could hardly be improved.
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