David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) (DVD)
Dickens' most autobiographical book, David Copperfield tells the moving story of David's journey from birth to maturity, a journey which links his life with some of the most colorful, extraordinary characters including the flamboyant Mr. Micawber, eccentric Aunt Betsy Trotwood, the kindly Peggotty family, the cruel Murdstones, the ever so humble Uriah Heep, and loyal, loving Agnes Wicklow. David navigates through a life fraught with hardships and challenges, unexpected joys and even love.
A year before he played his first Quidditch match as Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe cast his spell on audiences as young David Copperfield in this stellar British miniseries based on Charles Dickens's classic novel. Vastly superior to the 2000 American-made miniseries (which gave us Michael "Kramer" Richards as Micawber), this impeccable production, originally broadcast on ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre
, is an embarrassment of riches, with a cast that includes Oscar® winner Maggie Smith (Radcliffe's Potter
costar) as the indomitable Aunt Betsey, Oscar nominee Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
) as sadistic teacher Mr. Creakle, a wonderful Bob Hoskins (Oscar nominee for Mona Lisa
) as the debt-ridden Micawber, Trevor Eve as David's loathsome stepfather Mr. Murdstone (he believes in "firmness" with a vengeance), and Nicholas Lyndhurst as the scheming clerk Uriah Heap. Holding his own with this formidable ensemble is Ciaran McMenamin as the adult David, whose soap opera existence spans an idyll-shattered childhood, unscrupulous villains, tragic romance, and a hard-won happily-ever-after. Rich with incident and populated by some of literature's most memorable characters, this production does full justice to one of Dickens's most beloved and oft-told sagas. --Donald Liebenson