- Rated: Not Rated
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
- Video: Color
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: October 10, 2006
- Originally Released: 1935
- Label: Warner Home Video
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
The definitive Hollywood version of Charles Dickens's 1850 story of a young English boy, who, despite being despised by his stepfather, succeeds in overcoming early years of poverty. While no film can fully convey the detail and depth of a Dickens novel, George Cukor's version, perhaps more than any other, captures the spirit of the author's words. Freddie Bartholomew is endearing as the young Copperfield, and the large cast includes a priceless turn by W.C. Fields as Micawber, in a role that surprised audiences accustomed to his vaudeville persona. In another standout performance, Basil Rathbone is admirably despicable as Murdstone. The film was produced by David O. Selznick, whose immigrant father had taught himself English by reading the novel to his children; the sets are lavish and authentic in this solidly entertaining adaptation of the classic tale.
Description by Warner Home Video:
"We are friends for life." The man speaking: Micawber, played by W.C. Fields with great comedic charm and human warmth. The child addressed: David, played by Freddie Bartholomew in his Hollywood debut. The movie: David Copperfield, still one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a Charles Dickens novel.
"To call the casting inspired is to underrate it," historian David Shipman wrote in his The Story of Cinema. Lionel Barrymore, Edna May Oliver, Maureen O'Sullivan, Basil Rathbone and more joined Fields and Bartholomew in portraying the eccentrics, cads and loving family of this film directed by George Cukor. David O. Selznick produced, insisting on an attention to Dickensian detail that included matching the sets to the first edition's illustrations. The result: one of the greatest page-to-screen adaptations ever.
- Theatrical release: January 1935
- Charles Laughton was originally cast to play Micawber, but resigned after two days of shooting.
- MGM had originally wanted Jackie Cooper to play the young David.
- British novelist Hugh Walpole contributed dialogue to the film, and also appears as a vicar.
- Cukor's DAVID COPPERFIELD was called by one New York Times critic as "the most profoundly satisfying screen manipulation of a great novel the camera has ever given us."
- The film was a labor of love for producer David O. Selznick, who fought to ensure as lavish and authentic a production as possible; his immigrant father had used the novel as an English language tool by reading it to his children.
- Selznick and Cukor discovered their star, young Freddie Bartholomew, on a location-scouting trip to England. He went on to become a child screen icon, starring in more than a dozen films, e.g. CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS.
- Silent productions of DAVID COPPERFIELD were mounted in 1911 and 1922.