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NICHOLAS NICKLEBY (1947): Young Nicholas Nickleby's life is turned upside down by the death of his father. Having been left penniless, his mother turns to her unscrupulous brother-in-law Ralph Nickleby for help. Cruelly informing her that "Husbands die every day" he places Nicholas at the Wackford Squeers Academy, a school for unwanted boys. He escapes from this hell on earth along with his new friend Smike. The boys join up with a traveling theater troupe, and a series of exciting adventures begins...

The first sound adaptation of Dickens' great novel, Nicholas Nickleby is a British/American co-production. It came hot on the heels of David Lean's massively successful version of Great Expectations (1946). Like that film, Nicholas Nickleby features a cast of celebrated British actors, including Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Stanley Holloway. Jill Balcon, who plays Nicholas' love Madeline Bray, is the mother of Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis. Director Alberto Cavalcanti (here billed simply as "Cavalcanti") got his start making unusual avant-garde films such as Nothing But Time (1926). He is remembered for his segment in the horror anthology Dead of Night (1945). Surprisingly, this is the only British film version of Dickens' novel, though it has subsequently been staged many times on television.

DAVID COPPERFIELD (1970): This adaptation of David Copperfield was filmed in Great Britain for airing as a TV movie in the United States and ended up receiving a theatrical release in the UK two months before its television premiere in America. It differs from prior versions of Dickens' novel by using a flashback structure: Copperfield is shown as a grown man strolling on the beach, remembering his youth as a bedraggled orphan in London passed from one guardian or boarding school to another. His life finally changes for the better when he meets his eccentric aunt Betsey, and the beautiful Agnes, the woman he will marry. David Copperfield is directed by Delbert Mann, an Academy Award winner for his classic film Marty (1955). Laurence Olivier's cameo as headmaster Mr. Creakle earned him an Emmy nomination.

Not Rated.

Released by Alpha Home Entertainment/Gotham. See more credits.