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Nicholas Nickleby [DVD] [2003]

Price: £3.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Nicholas Nickleby [DVD] [2003] + The Old Curiosity Shop [DVD] + Little Dorrit [DVD] [2008]
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Product details

  • Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Christopher Plummer, Jim Broadbent, Anne Hathaway
  • Directors: Douglas McGrath
  • Writers: Douglas McGrath, Charles Dickens
  • Producers: Gail Egan, Jeff Sharp, John Hart, Michael Hogan, Robert How
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Nov 2003
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000BZND5
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,478 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Another version of the classic Dickens tale, with an all-star cast. Young Nicholas Nickleby (Charlie Hunnam) has to become the head of the family after his father dies leaving them penniless. In desperation, he turns to his uncle for help (Christopher Plummer), but this only leads the family into even more of a mess.


One of Charles Dickens' most popular novels, Nicholas Nickleby returns to the big screen for the first time since the excellent 1947 Ealing version in a visually breathtaking, lavishly produced new Hollywood interpretation. Following the honest and decent young Nicholas through a darkly oppressive Victorian England, the story moves from a grim boarding school to colourful adventures in the theatre and beyond, interweaving as many of Dickens' subplots and rich characters as possible into two hours. The little known Charlie Hunnam makes a spirited hero and is surrounded by such fine actors as Tom Courtenay, Christopher Plummer, Jim Broadbent (wonderful as the grotesque Wackford Squeers), Edward Fox, Juliet Stevenson and Jamie Bell.

This fast-paced film is never less than entertaining and is certainly by far the most handsome screen version of the story, sharing a life-enhancing energy with director Doug McGrath's previous Brit-lit adaptation, Jane Austen's Emma (1996). Inevitably much of the complexity and detail of the very long source novel has been sacrificed, and in this regard the 2000 TV version starring James D'Arcy has the advantage. Purists might be happier still with the acclaimed nine-hour 1982 RSC stage adaptation.

On the DVD: Nicholas Nickleby's first disc offers a superb anamorphically enhanced, 2.35:1 transfer. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is involving and atmospheric and makes the most of Rachel Portman's score. Also included is a very thoughtful and engaging commentary by McGrath, which adds a whole new level of appreciation to the film. Disc 2's most substantial extra is a solid 29-minute "making of" documentary featuring all the main cast and production personnel. The Life of Charles Dickens: "A Mirror to his Work" relates the book to Dickens' life with comments from the cast in an all-too-brief 12 minutes. The Cast on the Cast (16 minutes) features them chatting amiably on the afternoon of the New York premiere. Views on the Set simply produces five key shots from two different angles. The set is completed by a gimmicky trailer and a three-part photo gallery--a fair set of extras but not enough to call this edition truly special. --Gary S Dalkin

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 May 2007
Format: DVD
Despite being overlooked on release, Douglas McGrath's wonderful 2002 version of Dickens' tale of good rewarded captures both the feel and the sound of Dickens remarkably well. This world is indeed lived in, and the characters are vividly realised. The underplayed theatricality of Nathan Lane's opening and closing narration, allied to a strong sense of the cinematic sets the perfect tone right from the start, and its reprise at the ending is almost a well-deserved bow from the filmmakers.

It's even good enough to overcome the void at its center that is Charlie Hunnam, clearly cast for his looks since acting isn't a strong point. Indeed, it's bizarre that in a film with so many Americans, Canadians and Australians in its cast, the most unconvincing accent comes from a Brit, but Geordie Hunnam's curiously Scouse accent sticks out like a sore thumb, not only at odds with the rest of his family but also making him sound like a bored Beatle throughout - a kind of benign George Harrison without the `tache or the personality. As another poster has pointed out, it's a long way from Master Nickleby's Devonshire whatever it's meant to be.

Thankfully his blandness is more than compensated for by some excellent work by Christopher Plummer's villainous uncle, avoiding the usual caricature the role inspires, and Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson and Heather Goldenhersch (boasting such a perfect English accent I was surprised to find she was American) as the hideous Squeers family, embracing it and pulling it off magnificently, while Nathan Lane and Dame Edna Everidge are truly inspired casting as the open-hearted but financially challenged theatricals Mr and Mrs Crummles. There's fine work from Timothy Spall, Tom Courtenay, Phil Davis and, most surprising of all, even Edward Fox as well.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jan 2004
Format: DVD
To summarise, I enjoyed this film for what it was, a pleasant way to pass a few hours when you don't have anything better to do. If you want a high quality, serious adaption of Dickens, then don't see this one, see the ITV adaption made a few years ago with James D'Arcy and Charles Dance. The main critisms have to be the cast. Romola Garai as Kate Nickleby was simply terrible. Dressed 18th century, acting 2003. Totally mis-cast and put to shame by the superb Anne Hathaway. I had been told that Charlie Hunnam as Nicholas was by far the worst actor there. I disagree. Yes, his performance wasn't great, but you could see that he was trying hard. Just not quite good enough as an actor. Garai was worse by far.
Despite this, there were a few stars, notably the Squeers family (with the exception of the son). Evil, yet hysterical. Also Jamie Bell as Smike was fabulous, as was Nathan Lane as Mr Crumbles. I just loved Jim Broadbent as Mr Squeers, great to see Jim stepping out of the 'nice guy' role, yet still retained the affections of the audience.
See this film if only for Jim and Jamie, just be prepared to overlook the duds.
The DVD extras are almost worth the cost on their own. The 'cast on the cast' section is well worth a look.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bo on 12 Nov 2004
Format: DVD
I dare anybody to watch this Dickens film through with dry eyes! Anybody that claims he or she did has a nonchalant way with the truth, if you ask me.
Director McGrath has made a number of tough, but altogether valid choices concerning what to skip and what to keep in his film of Dickens' marathon novel in order to keep the running time just barely within two hours. I can just see Dickens nodding benignly from up above. Charlie Hunnam is angelic, but also unsentimental as the gentle Nicholas, separated from his mother and sister, as after the death of his father they surrender themselves to the mercy of his cynical brother. The heart of the plot is Nicholas' friendship with the cripple Smike (Jamie Bell is brilliant, simply brilliant), a boy that he saves from the archetypal sadistic Dickensian orphanage.
McGrath's film is positively brimming with eloquent supporting actors, and in the late autumn of his career Christopher Plummer proves himself to be quite the actor in what may amount to his best part ever as the cruel uncle.
I can even recommend the extras on the extra DVD, they are to the point and for once not a complete waste of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alex Lyon on 10 Mar 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Twenty years after the RSC took Nicholas Nickleby to Broadway this version from United Artists - I can easily imagine a young Douglas McGrath watching spellbound from the front row and vowing `One day, I'm gonna make a movie of this'.

This is a very American production - for all it's almost entirely British cast (of whom more anon), and it's great British locations, not just Luton Hoo and Somerset House, but the dear little cottage used in Bleasdale's Twist - it seems that Nicholas and Oliver's Mum grew up in the same house! - this Nickleby looks great, and so say all of us.

Jim Broadbent is just about the best in the cast as Squeers, with Juliet Stephenson lending excellent support as his horrid wife, but Tom Courtney is a very close second as a Newman Noggs so lovely that you want to take him home (but that's Mr Courtney all over, I'm afraid), while Christopher Plummer is properly chilly as Ralph, and Edward Fox suitably toxic as Sir Mulberry Hawk.

Smike? Not so good. I'm sure that Jamie Bell is a very good actor, but he's not being given his head in this - his Smike really isn't the broken misfit that the story requires - he's just a bit lame and lacking confidence (although his pause in Romeo and Juliet is wide enough to drive a coach and horses through); I'd prefer a Yorkshire accent too. And Brooker - why is he so mealy-mouthed? - this is Phil Davies they've paid good money for - why's he having to use the quiet pedal so much? Even Nathan Lane (fresh from playing Max Bialystock in the Producers - see ref to Christopher Benjamin in the RSC version) is a touch subdued as Mr Crummles, leaving the ham to Dame Edna Everage as his wife, but at least their English accents are screwed firmly in place.
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