The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby


Drama /

IMDb Rating 6.9


Downloaded 193 times
2/13/2020 6:50:15 PM

108 min
P/S 47 / 76

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7

In post World War II Great Britain there seemed to be a great revival in the work of Charles Dickens. Three of his classic novels were filmed in that period, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby.<br/><br/>Nicholas Nickleby is less known than the other two because Alec Guinness and John Mills got great roles and reached the top of the British cinema firmament as stars. Derek Bond in the title tole of Nicholas Nickleby never got to the heights that Mills and Guinness did. Still he was good in what was probably his career role.<br/><br/>Like the other two Dickens works Nicholas Nickleby involves the progress of a young man who has to overcome a lot of odds to attain prosperity and happiness. In this case his father dies and Bond with his mother Mary Merrall who is from the Billie Burke school of fluttery female and sister Sally Ann Howes look to his father&#39;s brother Cedric Hardwicke for charity.<br/><br/>But Hardwicke&#39;s not the charitable sort, in fact he&#39;s a scoundrel who has systematically lied and cheated others to build his fortune. He&#39;s not above using Howes as bait for his business and he sends Bond off to some &#39;school&#39; that is little more than the work house we saw in Oliver Twist. Bond is a teacher there and leaves enraged at the treatment after giving the headmaster Alfred Drayton a thrashing the kind he relishes giving out to the kids.<br/><br/>Bond leaves with one of the kids played by Aubrey Woods who has been particularly abused and who in fact as it turns out was the victim of the most monstrous evil performed by Hardwicke. But we find out what that is toward the end of the film. Woods who has very few lines by facial expressions gives one of the most touching performances I&#39;ve seen on film, he will live you longer than any of the other characters.<br/><br/>Dickens works abound in colorful characters and villains completely despicable. Cedric Hardwicke as Uncle Ralph Nickleby is a black hearted soul. Also standing out is Stanley Holloway head of a group of strolling players who gives help to Bond and Woods when they are at their lowest.<br/><br/>Nicholas Nickleby though it has been done on the big and small screen several times has this version to set a very high standard.

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Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 7

Personally, there are only two that are better, the 1982 production with Alun Armstrong as Squeers and the 2002 James D&#39;Arcy version, with the weakest being the 2002 feature film with Jim Broadbent and Christopher Plummer, the 2002 film was quite good in my view. But from personal perspective, none of them are bad. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby(1947) has problems; an intrusive music score, Derek Bond&#39;s wooden Nicholas, Sally Ann Howes&#39; over-simpering Kate and Mary Merrall playing Mrs Nickleby as too much of a silly caricature. The film is beautifully and expressively photographed and has an evocatively atmospheric setting. Alberto Cavalcanti does direct gracefully for one who is more of a surrealist director, while the dialogue is crisp and intelligent and the story draws you right in with little filler and delivers the narrative right to the point. Three performances may not have worked, but the others do. Coming off best is Cedric Hardwicke, by far and large the most evil of the Ralph Nicklebys of all the adaptations, truly diabolical. Alfred Drayton is loathsome and funny as Squeers, while Bernard Miles&#39; Newman is appealing, Stanley Holloway is a sharp Crummles and the Smike of Aubrey Woods is very affecting. In conclusion, one of the better adaptations of the book and does a very good job on its own. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Reviewed by Igenlode Wordsmith 6

I&#39;m afraid I find myself agreeing with the contemporary post-war reviewers: compared to the two recent David Lean adaptations of Dickens (&quot;Oliver Twist&quot; and &quot;Great Expectations&quot;), this version of &quot;Nicholas Nickleby&quot; is definitely lacklustre, despite a promising cast (Cedric Hardwicke; Sybil Thorndike; Bernard Miles; Stanley Holloway).<br/><br/>I did feel that the musical score for this production really doesn&#39;t help. There&#39;s nothing much wrong with it as such, but it is distinctly unsubtle. I found it actively intrusive in a number of scenes, interrupting any atmosphere that was being built up with its blatant attempts to steer audience emotions in the direction it thought they ought to go: pathos, tension, romance all came clumping in and clumping out again, to negative effect.<br/><br/>And matters were not improved by the failure of the two young female leads, Sally Anne Howes or Jill Balcon, to display any dramatic ability in this picture. Miss Howes in particular seemed to spend much of the film with a completely blank expression, even in scenes where she was supposed to be in considerable distress, and the entire storyline involving Nicholas&#39;s sister Kate was less compelling than it ought to have been as a result.<br/><br/>It is Cedric Hardwicke as Ralph Nickleby, top-billed above young Derek Bond as his eponymous nephew, who makes the most impression in this version of &quot;Nicholas Nickleby&quot;. His is one of the few characters to be given depths beyond a surface caricature, and he makes the most of it in a compelling performance. Bernard Miles as his grotesque clerk Newman Noggs (I was reminded of Jerry Cruncher in &quot;A Tale of Two Cities&quot;) is also memorable, and Stanley Holloway makes a typically resonant but all too brief appearance as the theatrical Vincent Crummles, incidentally reminding us of the close links between Dickens&#39; novels and the popular Victorian melodrama, with their blend of pathos and broad comedy.<br/><br/>The opening scenes up until young Nicholas leaves Dotheboys Hall show promise; but after that the film declines into a rather thin series of events. I was interested ahead of time to see what Ealing Studios would make of this uncharacteristic attempt to produce a literary adaptation, but I&#39;m afraid the result probably explains why the studio didn&#39;t make a habit of it! Worth watching for Hardwicke&#39;s talent, as ever; but not a great screen version of Dickens.<br/><br/>A better adaptation was broadcast by the BBC in 2002, featuring Charles Dance as an excellent Ralph Nickleby.

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