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Nicholas Nickleby
Nicholas Nickleby
Actors: Nigel Havers, Peter Bourke, Kate Nicholls, Derek Godfrey, Robert James
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     5hr 25min

Nigel Havers stars as the young Nicholas Nickleby in the BBC?s triumphant adaptations of one of Charles Dickens? most celebrated novels. Upon the death of his father Nicholas, along with his mother and sister, finds himse...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Nigel Havers, Peter Bourke, Kate Nicholls, Derek Godfrey, Robert James
Creator: Chris Wimble
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Drama
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/02/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 5hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

1993 vs 2002 vs 1977 vs 1947
bookloversfriend | United States | 01/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The 1993 version of Nicholas Nickleby should not be considered. It is not merely the snake-faced appearance of the actor who plays the lead, nor the fact that he speaks as though he has a bad cold with a stuffed-up nose. But he is also a contemporary character, not a nineteenth-century character. And that's just for starters.

The 2002 version is not bad. With widescreen and surround sound and good photography, this is a good production for what appears to be a limited budget. Problems begin with the casting. The American actor who plays the lead speaks in a carefully articulated generic English accent, but that won't do, nor the fact that his manner and mannerisms are those of a contemporary rather than a period character. Christopher Plummer is an accomplished actor, but his effort here seems half-hearted, as though he didn't think much of this production. The actor who plays Smike mumbles his lines as though he is bucking for the role of Hamlet. The story is powerful enough that this movie is not a washout, but none of it is particularly well done.

What the above versions lack is comedy. Dickens was fond of mixing hilarious comedy with the most heart-rending drama, and Nicholas Nickleby is no exception. The above versions are merely drama. But the biggest crime is in the character of Mrs. Nickleby. Mrs. Nickleby is one of the great comic characters of world literature. Unfortunately, she is also politically incorrect. The above versions simply throw out her character and replace it with a blah nonentity.

The 1977 version. At over 5 hours, this version brings in more of the minor characters of this long story and treats the story according to the book. As often with the BBC, there is lavish attention to sets and their accuracy and little attention to anything else. The music is nonexistent. The photography is not bad indoors but the few outdoor scenes are overexposed. And the acting is marginal at best. Nigel Havers is much too old for the role of Nicholas but does an adequate job. The ending is satisfying. All in all, well worth seeing, especially for readers of the book. The emphasis is on drama. There is humor in the character of Mrs. Nickleby and an attempt at humor in a couple of the minor characters.

The 1947 version was made before the Dhimmist ideology came to dominate movie-making, and here we find Mrs. Nickleby in all her mind-boggling glory. In fact, all of the characters in this movie have that Dickensian edge that makes them larger, or at least more effective, than life. Good scripting and good direction make for a hard-hitting, heart-touching and occasionally side-splitting experience. The actors and actresses don't TRY to speak in an upper-middle-class British accent; they simply speak and behave as they normally would and it is true to the period. The pace is fast, and the script had to streamline some of the events, but all of the major events are here and are effectively presented. The ending is far more dramatic than in the other versions.
A good compromise
Robert Baksa | new york state | 10/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have viewed four versions of this Dickens classic and find the BBC set starring Havers to be the most consistantly satisfying. The oldest version is processed from a print too damaged to produce a satisfactory result from the audio or visual standpoint. The stage version by the Royal Shakespeare group has many wonderful things about it but I miss the visual images of the architecure and countryside which are so much a part of the author's world. The recent version staring Dallimore is short on Dickensian humor and the heavy handed music score does too much to sink the performance.

Unlike another reviewer, I do not find Havers too old for the role of Nicholas. He is supposed to be 19 and many 19 year olds look much older than Nigel does. The best things about this BBC version are the wonderful views of the countryside and the look of the houses and towns.
The music is minimal but with Dicken's contant scene shifts I don't find that I miss it. The actors are true to the reputation of British television actors. Mostly trained on the stage, they are dependably wonderful. One might choose other actors in other versions as being one's favorites for this or that role, but overall this seems to be the choice for a good basic rendering of this classic."
"Dickens takes aim at social injustice ... Nicholas Nickleby
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 10/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Koch Vision and BBC present "Nicholas Nickleby (1977) - Nigel Havers (325 mins/Color) (Dolby Digital) --- Under Christopher Barry (Director), Barry Letts (Producer), Chris Wimble (Editor), Charles Dickens (novel), Hugh Leonard (Screenwriter) ----- the cast includes Nigel Havers (Nicholas Nickleby), Peter Bourke (Smike), Kate Nicholls (Kate Nickleby), Derek Godfrey (Ralph Nickleby), Robert James (Newman Noggs), Derek Francis (Wackford Squeers), Anne Ridler (Mrs. Squeers), Isabelle Amyes (Miss Fanny Squeers) . . . . . our story as it begins is like nearly all of Dickens' works, the novel has a contemporary setting ... the action takes place in London, with several scenes taking place in Dickens' hometown of Portsmouth, as well as settings in Yorkshire and Devon ... with Dickens taking aim at what he perceives to be social injustices ... the cast of characters are introduced, including Nicholas' malevolent uncle Ralph, and the villainous Wackford Squeers, who operates a squalid boarding school at which Nicholas temporarily serves as a tutor. ...the film such as the novel centers around the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies ... and as for Uncle Ralph, who thinks Nicholas will never amount to anything, plays the role of an antagonist ... just remember Nicholas Nickleby is the hero of our story, his father has died and left Nicholas and his family penniless ... Nicholas is not a common Byronic hero ... Nickleby can be emotional, naive and violent, but through it all he is devoted to his friends and family, fiercely defiant of those who wrong those he loves ... the director Christopher Barry brings to the screen page by page of the novel keeping faith with the author Charles Dickens.

Great job by Koch Vision for releasing "Nicholas Nickleby" (1977) - Nigel Havers, the digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more high quality releases from the BBC mini-series film market...order your copy now from Amazon or Koch Vision where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch drama mixed with an outstanding cast and director --- just the way we like 'em

Total Time: 325 mins on DVD ~ Koch Vision KOCV6361 ~ (5/02/2006)"