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David Copperfield [Import]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Freddie Bartholomew, Frank Lawton, Edna May Oliver, Elizabeth Allan, Jessie Ralph
  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Writers: Hugh Walpole, Charles Dickens, Howard Estabrook, Lenore J. Coffee
  • Producers: David O. Selznick
  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: Dec 21 1994
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301967801

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By "scotsladdie" on Nov. 14 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Dickens, with his vast humanity and that amazing vitality of his which created a whole world of characters, contains inexhaustable riches for the screen, though his long rambling plots are the despair of scenerio writers. His people--types, caricatures, or whatever you choose to call them--are distict and individual in appearance, actions and speech--and are rare parts for good actors. The trick in getting Dickens effectively on the screen was an enormously difficult one of selecting and condensing--keeping enough to satisfy the Dickens lover who complains bitterly when any favourite character or episode is left out. Some may find Dickens as being overlong, overly sentimental and often more than a bit tedious; at any rate, however, this is excellent Dickens! Good intentions and imposing ambitions are plentiful enough in the making of movies, but woefully rare are the instances where technical excellence, good taste and judgement and an intelligent sense of the rightness of things combined to bring thowe intentions and ambitions to a successful issue. DAVID COPPERFIELD is one of those rare and happy successes. It met every reasonable expectation competently and generously, and the film was highly praised by the critics and public alike back in 1935. This filmed version of the classic novel by Dickens, is remarkably faithful to the source - rich in atmosphere and fine characterisations. David himself is played ideally by both Freddie Bartholomew and Frank Lawton; they miraculously seem to be the same person at different ages! If Frank Lawton seems less interesting, its only because his adventures are so mild compared with those of Bartholomew. W.C. Fields' whole career seemed to have been a preparation for his role as Micawber; he is magnificent in his off-beat role.Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
So exclaimed one of my friends who had never before seen Freddie Bartholomew, one of the best child actors Hollywood ever produced. Freddie turns in an excellent young David, and it's a pity that the adult David is such an unremarkable figure. That's one reason, I think, why Roland Young's Uriah Heep and Maureen O'Sullavan's Dora are so impressed upon viewers' memories in the later scenes : they have no competition from a strong lead. Still, the first half of this movie is really what carries it, and what everyone thinks of when they conjure up images from the film. Selznick and Cukor did an admirable job of selecting a cast as idiosyncratic as Dickens' creations have to be: WC Fields' ever-hopeful bankrupt Mr. Micawber, Basil Rathbone's sneering stepfather Mr. Murdstone, Edna May Oliver's totally absurd Aunt Betsey Trotwood. It's true, of course, that much of the novel had to be deleted in order to make the movie an acceptable theatrical running time, but the cutting is done well so that the audience does not sense that something is missing from the storyline. If, like my friend, you've never seen the marvel that was Freddie Bartholomew, I urge you to watch "David Copperfield" with your family and friends, preferably at Christmastime.
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Format: VHS Tape
For those of you who read my review on the book, you know that I gave it 5 stars. Now overall, these people did a great job of fitting an 870 page book into 2 hours. To be sure, some significant characters like Traddles are deleted, and some characters like Steerforth are glossed over. But most of the major characters like David, Murderstone, Uriah Heep, and Mr. Micawber are well done. Edna May Oliver is over the top as David's slightly eccentric but benevolent aunt. Dora (the eternal child) is done well. The comical and tragic first marriage of David is done very well. The scenery is simple but well done. Micawber could have been a little more animated in his comical rage against 'HEEP,' but he does fine. Some charming extras in this video are that a page from the book "David Copperfield" is filmed in. This filmed in page allows us to see that we are watching what Charles Dickens felt to be his ('favorite child') best creation. Also at times, David even looks like Charles Dickens! I think it is best to watch this video after you have read the book. That way your memory can fill in the deleted or abridged events. (Steerforth's friendship with David before abducting Emily, David's aunt losing her property and having to move in with him, etc.) Even if you have already read the book, you will not want to miss this charming production.
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Format: VHS Tape
Charles Dickens, like Jane Austen, is a 19th Century writer whose stories translate very well to the cinema. It is because of the strength of the characters and the fact that most of the stories have a happy ending and the baddies end up properly punished.
David Copperfield, while somewhat faded in the physical quality of the video itself, as a film is a perfect example. It's full of wonderful character actors who seem to be having the times of their lives in their parts.
Basil Rathbone is at his villanest, as the evil stepfather, Mr. Murdstone. Roland Young is particularly effective as the slimey Uriah Heep. And the great W.C. Fields personifies the always hopeful Mr. Micawber. Dickens would have loved his interpretation of the wonderful mountebank.
The only clinker in the whole cast is Freddie Bartholomew, who often comes across as a whiney twit. I'm sure Fields would have liked to have given him a kick in the pants, like he did Baby LeRoy in The Old-Fashioned Way.
I recommend the film heartily for young and old. You will certainly recognize the same virtues and vices in people you see today. Unfortunately, good and evil nowadays don't always result in the same outcomes as in Charles Dicken's time.
When you've finished this film, move on to Great Expectations with Alec Guiness, Jean Simmons and John Mills; Oliver Twist with Alec Guiness, Robert Newton and Anthony Newley and A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim. If you aren't dripping with good will and cheer by then, let's face it you're either dead or Scrooged.
Happy Holidays!
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