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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"David Copperfield" (1935)

You might think it folly to undertake the filming of Charles Dickens' beloved Bildungsroman, but this adaptation comes about as close to getting it absolutely right as anyone could hope. As young David, Freddie Bartholomew is scarily good; there's a reason boy-wise he was almost as popular as Shirley Temple in the '30s. Yet as good as he is, it's the rest of the cast that really shine as all those deliciously eccentric Dickensian characters with names like Peggotty, Chillip, Murdstone, and Gummidge. Best of all, W.C. Fields practically steals the entire picture as Mr. Micawber. He eschews his trademark child-hating boozer act and probably gives the most sincere and charming performance of his career. Classic storytelling with that expert MGM gloss.

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