David Copperfield (1935)
Directed by George Cukor
“Approach me, approach me, you... you... Heep of infamy! And if your head is human, I'll break it! I cast off your yoke, I defy you!”
Imagine an everlastingly red-nosed Mr. Micawber (W. C. Fields), brandishing his cane in grand style, and furious, in his theatrical way, because he’s been an unwilling accomplice in a crime, and even though he’s been a scapegrace, he has a good heart still. So he goes after the forger and blackmailer, the cringingly ’umble and ambitious Uriah Heep (Roland Young, who could do a deadpan leer as well as anybody ever did). That’s the high-mirthful climax of the film David Copperfield, a fine adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens, the favorite, as he said, of all his children.
Chesterton once said that Dickens loved his characters too much, and that was why he sometimes let them off rather easily, bringing them round rather than making them pay for their crimes. Sometimes, I say! For Dickens was, as a friend of mine says, “in love with …
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