- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- Movie Lady
David Copperfield is my favorite Dickens story. I couldn't be more thrilled with a movie adaptation of a book that means so much to me. The screenplay cuts away the extraneous parts of the book and beautifully concentrates on the best parts and characters. Every role is perfectly cast and played, with huge kudos going to Edna Mae Oliver (Donkeys!!!), one of the best child actors ever - Freddie Bartholomew and the incomparable Basil Rathbone. I watch this every time it is shown and always feel happy and satisfied. I also note that casting W.C. Fields as Micawber was a stroke of genius. Finally, I can only wish we all had such a wise advisor in our lives as Mr. Dick!
Great Classic Illustrated
Basil gives the best performance followed by WC & Edna May Oliver.Other characters not in too long to affect me like Basil's sinister portrayal.
- kevin sellers
Dickens at his least ambiguous (Steerforth and Dora excepted). Within these sentimental confines Director George Cukor does a fine job of keeping things moving at a good clip and screenwriters Howard Estabrook and an uncredited Lenore Coffey do a good job of distilling an 800 page novel into 2 hours plus and not losing any of the vital essence. And, as most of the previous reviewers have noted, the acting is tip top. Give it a B. P.S. W.C. Fields is so believable as Micawber that you don't even notice that he's the only actor with an American accent.
W C Fields My Favorite In This Film
Basil Rathbone very sinister,Edna May excellent,Roland very creepy as Heepy,but WC Excels,and that's with Lionel & Lewis Stone in the cast!
Freddie, Freddie, Freddie!
- Raymond Banacki
Freddie Bartholomew was a genuinely unique star at MGM. He produced such an interesting body of work at the studio. And he gave an outstanding performance in "Captains Courageous", too. For those who care, see him and Victor McLaglen in "Professional Soldier". I do wish that he had been allowed to grow up in films. I would've loved to have seen him in his 20's and 30's. (His parents had abandoned him to his aunt's care. And his aunt tutored him into Hollywood stardom. His parents did their utmost to get their hands on his fortune. Both Freddie and his aunt spent a fortune in attempts to push them away. But, in the end, a settlement had to be reached. And Freddie was not the rich man that he could have been.)
Stars exceed expectations
- Will Fox
Three stars, vastly surpassing modest expectations, deserve exalting praise. This entire cast is an excellent ensemble, energetically engaging, entertaining us throughout this show. Having consistently stood the test of time, we eagerly tune in to see leaders like Lionel Barrymore, Edna May Oliver, Freddie Bartholomew, plus notorious villains like Basil Rathbone. And expect even more entertainment and exemplary insights, when we see life enhancing Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor and Lewis Stone in the cast of characters. All of this gives context for edifying even more modest players that captivate our interests, especially in "David Copperfield." First of three stars is David's nurse Peggotty, played heart warmingly by Jessie Ralph. She embodies genuine love, as the missing-mother substitute. Second revelation, Roland Young plays the falsely modest, obsequious law clerk, Uriah Heep, usually wringing his hands, as if to wash-off the tell-tale ink from his forgeries. Best of the stellar trio is Mr. Micawber, the unexpectedly exemplary, good shepherd W. C. Fields, almost playing against his curmudgeonly, historic typecasting. Rarely has his diction and eye contact, and empathy engaged us so winsomely. Three encoring cheers for Miss Jessie Ralph, gleefully greedy Roland Young, and the crusading, almost saintly savor sallying forth, W. C. Fields. Thanks too, to TCM for showcasing these talents, during the Fields' marathon. Great programming!
- Dashiell Barnes
A fine adaptation of the Dicken's classic. Bartholomew shines as the title character in his youth, fine supporting performances from Fields, Barrymore, Rathbone, Oliver & Young. While Dicken's novel is a classic, the story is dated & leaves us distant from the character's exploits. Fine but ignorable entertainment. I give it a 3.5/5.
Rathbone Main Attraction For This Long Story
- Brasil Basil
Always had trouble paying attention to the book.Loved Freddie and Basil scenes.Uriah Heep and Micawber held my attention,too.Laughton would've been good,but Fields great,no matter the ad-libs.
Ah,yes,my little chickadee,WC does a good turn.He is perfect,think Laughton would've worked,too.Would've love to see Bas and Chuck act together on film.Roland Young wonderful,Lewis Stone,and Edna May truly outstanding.Brilliant movie!
- avis butterworth
This is one of dickens best, the actors are supreme.A 5 star movie and (must see )
David C. should be appreciated for all the actors.Most outstanding are:Edna May Oliver,Freddie,Basil,Roland Young,Barrymore (thank goodness someone talked Selznick into keeping his part),Lewis Stone,but most surprising,W.C.Fields,who's excellent.Not a fan of such tomes,this is well done!
David Copperfield (1935)
- Mark Sutch
- Niki Forrest
As a long time admirer of all things Dickens, I disagree with Mr. McDonald. This is a beautiful film with excellent acting. Perhaps the choice of W.C. Fields as Micawber was not the best, but he did convey his quirkiness and unrealistic view of life. Basil Rathbone as Mr.Murdstone, was excellent in the role of abusive stepfather. In the book, he was abusive and it was captured on screen as true to the character. David Copperfield, while indulged at times, did not deserve a merciless beating. That scene bothered Sir Basil greatly, if you read his autobiography.
A great film for someone who has not read the book. I encourage people to read the book, as I believe it to be one of the best. Hard to critique the film - with only a limited time frame, I think it was quite well done.
Drama with Freddie
- Jarrod McDonald
I'm surprised there haven't been more reviews till now...I watched the film with high expectations. Those expectations were dashed half-way into the film when I realized it was not what I wanted it to be...I think I expected to see the conditions of the boy shown in a much harsher light...in this case, it almost seems as if the stepfather is in the right, disciplining a boy whose mother won't because she over-indulges him to the extreme. When he does suffer, there's nice Mr. Micawber and an aunt with a change of heart to look after him...I don't think that's how Dickens necessarily envisioned the character, in this glossed-up Hollywood sort of way. But the film does work on many levels...the performances are all good, and Edna May Oliver is probably the best one, giving a performance with gusto (I think she's better than Fields who has limited screen time). But it's really Freddie's picture, and he has all the requisite drama of a boy that age, both on and off camera. It works, if not for Selznick's sanitized version of Dickens, but for the level of integrity the craftsmen and women put into this project.
One of the best classics around. Great performances by all-W.C.Fields,Basil Rathbone and the entire cast are superb!