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Pickwick Papers, The
Pickwick Papers The
Actors: James Hayter, James Donald, Nigel Patrick, Joyce Grenfell, Hermione Gingold
Director: Noel Langley
Genres: Comedy, Drama
NR     2009     1hr 49min

In 1836 young Charles Dickens was commissioned to write a series of humorous stories about the misadventures of the members of a fictional English social club. Dickens called this organization the PICKWICK CLUB, named afte...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Hayter, James Donald, Nigel Patrick, Joyce Grenfell, Hermione Gingold
Director: Noel Langley
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Classics
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/24/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1952
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1952
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 49min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Rosemary F. from PAWLEYS ISL, SC
Reviewed on 5/24/2010...
The stellar cast of this wonderful film also includes performances by the inimitable Joyce Grenfell and Hermione Gingold. It is a somewhat shorter version that the 1952 film, but it has the ingenuous character of other older films of Dickens' classics, not slick and overpolished. It's hard to say which version is better, but I think the pacing is faster in this one, which has a better comic effect. The costumes won a nomination for an Academy Award.

Movie Reviews

"And now you all know each other, let's be comfortable and h
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The pleasures of The Pickwick Papers rest with the characters Charles Dickens created and the remarkable scrapes he puts them in. The pleasures of the movie rest with the actors who play the characters and their skill at comic invention. It's not an even contest, but even so the movie has the many delights of charm, clever innocence, friendly but sometimes pointed social criticism, misunderstood contrapulations and complexatory ambulations.

Dickens' good-natured appreciation of the members and purpose of the Pickwick Club are just about matched by two sterling performances, the first by James Hayter as Mr. Samuel Pickwick and the second by Nigel Patrick as Mr. Alfred Jingle. Hayter, a long-time and pleasantly rotund British character actor, immediately makes us welcome to the eccentric world of the Pickwickians, those four men who are members of the Pickwick Club, chaired, of course, by the kindly Mr. Pickwick. The purpose of the club? Why, to study human nature and to be of service to it. They do this by making note of and reporting back to each other at their meetings all the interesting things they observe and encounter. In just a moment they will embark on a journey from London to expand their field of observations. Very soon they will meet Mr. Jingle, who will provide them with much material. Nigel Patrick as Jingle nicely balances Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Jingle is a charlatan, a rogue, a traveling player, and an endlessly inventive and quick-talking scoundrel of almost genuine bonhomie. He is most likeable, but never let your hand stray far from your purse. Patrick, who was a major British star in his time, gives one of his best performances as this scalawag and rogue.

On their journey, the Pickwick Club will encounter all manner of adventures and misunderstandings, a good deal of which is accelerated by themselves. Mr. Pickwick is the soul of good manners and well-meant intentions, but manages to bumble his way into the most unlikely situations. In support with their own serious bumblings are Mr. Nathaniel Winkle the others think of as a sportsman of sorts, Mr. Tracey Tupman, a plump fellow who finds inspiration and delusional hope with the ladies, and Mr. Augustus Snodgrass who, well, he takes many notes. They will encounter daughters, sisters, widows and aunts, along with misunderstood intentions of marriage, a literary and fancy dress party and, for Mr. Pickwick personally, the determination to refuse intimidation, two unscrupulous lawyers and a trial for breach of promise. Mr. Pickwick is unfazed. "I trust you are not nervous," says his lawyer as the trial begins. "I have never been more confidant, sir," replies Pickwick," that truth and justice will prevail." "It would make a nice change," says his lawyer. Mr. Pickwick, having lost the case, is now in debtor's prison. He refuses on principle to pay a jot of damages and cost.

Stirring the pot, poking the fire, kicking the curb, pocketing the odd guinea, setting up wonderful scams that invariably involve Mr. Pickwick, is Alfred Jingle and his clever stratagems. But even he, faced by a good man, can find himself finally at a loss for words. And let it be said that a kind man like Mr. Pickwick can always use the services of a resourceful valet. The Pickwick Club members, especially Mr. Pickwick now out of prison, have learned much about human nature, especially as reported by Charles Dickens. All ends right with their Pickwickian world. As Mr. Pickwick says in a toast of benevolent cheer, "To those feelings which repose, however remotely, in the human breast, awaiting only encouragement to awaken: Good will, good hope, good nature."

So relax, sit back and enjoy yourself. Take your time, too. The book is best enjoyed leisurely. The movie is, too, because it does go on a bit. However, you're in good company with Mr. Pickwick, not too mention all those superb British character actors, among whom are Joyce Grenfell, Hermione Baddeley, Harry Fowler, Donald Wolfit, Hermione Gingold, Athene Seyler, William Hartnell, Max Adrian, Noel Purcell and even Hattie Jacques. Most especially, along with James Hayter, is Nigel Patrick. He was one of those lead actors who radiated confidence. He could fight the Nazis, solve a murder, cuckold a fellow fifth form teacher, be a know-it-all, break the sound barrier...and still could be, when needed, likeable and even sympathetic. His style didn't transfer well to American movies, although he toned it down some for his role in Raintree County. In my view, he was the best thing in that long, pretentious attempt to make a movie from a long and shapeless book. If you have the opportunity, also watch him at his versatile best in The Browning Version, Encore, Breaking the Sound Barrier, Sapphire and The League of Gentlemen.

The Pickwick Papers, especially for a film more than 55 years old, looks very good in this DVD transfer. The movie was mounted with great attention to period and detail, and the quality is apparent. Early 19th century England seldom looked better. There are no significant extras."