The Pickwick Papers View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Noel Langley

Produced: 1952

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Studio: Simply Media

Length: 104 mins

Format: DVD

Released: 20 March 2006

Cat No: 122925

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The Pickwick Papers

Cast: Joyce Grenfell , James Hayter , James Donald , William Hartnell , Nigel Patrick , Hermione Gingold , Donald Wolfit , Kathleen Harrison , Hermione Baddeley , Athene Seyler , Harry Fowler , Sam Costa , Alexander Gauge , Mary Merrall , George Robey

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An adaptation of Charles Dickens’ comic novel concerning a group of bachelors who travel around Victorian England. Naming themselves the... Read More

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An adaptation of Charles Dickens’ comic novel concerning a group of bachelors who travel around Victorian England. Naming themselves the Pickwick Club after their founder, Samuel Pickwick (James Hayter), the gents’ journey brings them many surprises and a host of revelations about themselves and the current state of the world. Along the way they encounter a wealth of comic characters and are swindled, sued and thrown into a debtors’ prison.

Orson Welles planned to adapt Charles Dickens's picaresque novel as his follow-up to Citizen Kane. However, W.C. Fields's schedule couldn't be amended and another tantalising project was consigned to Hollywood's alternative history.

James Hayter might not have had Fields's charisma, but the man who went on to voice the Mr Kipling commercials does make an exceedingly good Pickwick. What's more, he's ably supported by a splendid supporting cast of British stalwarts, with Alexander Gauge (Tupman), James Donald (Winkle) and Lionel Murton (Snodgrass) making up the other members of the Pickwick Club, whose misadventures both amuse and provide the odd salutory lesson.

However, Nigel Patrick steals the show as Mr Jingle, who exudes mischievous amorality, as he dupes the quartet into many of their scrapes - although Pickwick's breach of promise suit with Mrs. Bardell (Hermione Baddeley) is equally entertaining. That said, this results in his incarceration in the debtors' prison and director Noel Langley admirably tempers the tone to expose the darker side of Victorian England. Indeed, Langley (who also scripted Alastair Sim's Scrooge) does an excellent job throughout of compressing Dickens' text and keeping so many characters in focus.

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