The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby


Action / Drama

Plot summary

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Top cast

Cedric Hardwicke Photo
Cedric Hardwicke as Ralph Nickleby
Jean Marsh Photo
Jean Marsh as Sewing Girl
Sally Ann Howes Photo
Sally Ann Howes as Kate Nickleby
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
994.06 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.8 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird8 / 10

Very good, one of the better adaptations of the book

Personally, there are only two that are better, the 1982 production with Alun Armstrong as Squeers and the 2002 James D'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's wooden Nicholas, Sally Ann Howes' 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' 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

Reviewed by Prismark109 / 10

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Alberto Cavalcanti's has made a concise version of the story of Nicholas Nickleby for Ealing Studios.

Although Charles Dickens epic novel is judiciously pruned, the flavour and atmosphere remains.

This episodic film has greedy moneylender Ralph Nickleby (Cedric Hardwicke) reluctantly taking on his brother's family after his death in 1830.

Ralph quickly gets a job for nephew Nicholas Nickleby (Derek Bond) as a teacher working for Wackford Squeers. The school is a wretched place and Nicholas soon leaves when a young man Smike is being flogged.

Nicholas and Smike soon get in with theatrical producer Vincent Crummles (Stanley Holloway) and become actors.

Meanwhile Ralph also gets his niece working as a seamstress for low wages. Ralph also uses her to attract the attention of Lord Verisopht so he will borrow money from him.

Soon Nicholas gets wind of what Ralph has been up to. How some wealthy men plan to use and abuse his sister. So he comes to rescue his sister and mother.

Ralph also has a lusty eye for a pretty young woman Madeleine Bray (Jill Balcon) to be his bride. Her father is in debt to Ralph Nickleby. However Nicholas is also in love with her.

The film allows some of the actors to shine even in smaller roles. Stanley Holloway stands out as Crummles as well as Bernard Miles as the nice Newman Noggs. Cyril Fletcher more famous from the BBC television program That's Life is almost debauched as Mantalini.

Of course Cedric Hardwicke steals the film as the dastardly avaricious uncle Ralph. He does his duty to take care of his brother's family, he makes sure they all get to work.

Although the complexities of the novel and the various characters had to be reduced. This is an enjoyably brisk film which is not full of cloying sentimentality. It also shows the harshness and cruelty of life in that era.

Surprisingly this is the only British film version of Nicholas Nickleby made in the 20th century.

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid9 / 10

Beware the scissors of Universal!

Associate producer: John Croydon. Producer: Michael Balcon. Filmed at Ealing Studios. An Ealing Film, presented by J. Arthur Rank. U.K. release through General Film Distributors: 7 April 1947. Copyright in the U.S.A. 11 December 1947 by Ealing Studios, Ltd. A Prestige Picture. New York opening at the Little Carnegie: 29 November 1947. U.S. release through Universal: December 1947. Australian release through British Empire Films: 20 November 1947. 125 minutes. Cut to 94 minutes in the U.S.A. Cut to 10,016 feet (including censorship certificate and B.E.F. logo) namely 111 minutes in Australia.

SYNOPSIS: Bond is the young man who toils in a boys' school in Yorkshire where he has been apprenticed by his thoroughly reprehensible uncle, played by Hardwicke. Conditions at the school are appalling, and Bond befriends one of the students, Woods, who has been the victim of much of the brutality at the school. They escape, join a traveling theatrical troupe, and enjoy a series of adventures. (Available on a cut-to-ribbons Optimum DVD).

NOTES: Previous versions were released in 1903 and 1912.

COMMENT: A remarkably faithful adaptation of Dickens' novel, capturing both the flavor and spirit of the original, while preserving most of the dialogue intact. Such accomplished players as Hardwicke, Drayton, Holloway and Thorndike serve it well, while Cavalcanti's direction recreates the atmosphere perfectly. Gordon Dines' superb low-key photography is a big assist here, as are the fine sets created by art director Michael Relph.

OTHER VIEWS: Casting couldn't be better and Cavalcanti has created an authentic "Dickensian" mood, but too much story is compressed into the film, making it difficult to follow, particularly in the version released by Universal in the U.S.A., which was cut by over 30 minutes. Movie debuts of Jill Balcon and Aubrey Woods. — The Motion Picture Guide.

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