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The Life and Adventures o... has been added to your Cart

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby [VHS]

4.4 out of 5 stars 102 ratings
IMDb9.1/10.0

$64.99
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Enhance your purchase

Genre Action & Adventure
Format Box set, Color, NTSC
Contributor Cathryn Harrison, Janet Dale, Lila Kaye, Alun Armstrong, Bob Peck, John McEnery, Emily Richard, Tony Imi, Jane Downs, David Threlfall, Roger Rees, Edward Petherbridge, Suzanne Bertish, Terry Bennell See more
Number Of Discs 9
Runtime 7 hours and 48 minutes
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Originally published in monthly installments, Charles Dickens' novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby was a London sensation. Through the characters of Nicholas, his sister Kate, and their Uncle Ralph, readers relished Dickens' outrage at the injustices of wealth and poverty in Victorian England. The Tony Award winning presentation by the Royal Shakespeare Company captures the master storyteller's epic in all its wickedness and wonder. Originally staged in London and on Broadway, the production features 39 actors playing 150 roles everything from baronets to beggars, aristocrats to outcasts. Starring Roger Rees as the heroic Nicholas, this special collector's edition captures one of the greatest theatrical experiences of all time.

Amazon.com

Yes, it's nine hours long. Yes, it's Charles Dickens, he of the 900-page novels you had to read in high school. And, yes, it's a film of a play. But the Royal Shakespeare Company's Tony Award-winning 1981 production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby at London's Old Vic Theatre was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and those of us who missed its Emmy-winning PBS broadcast can be thankful for A&E's superb video boxed set. Dickens's story of greed, poverty, and cruelty in Victorian England is handled deftly by director Jim Goddard and set designer John Napier, who never deny their film's staginess but instead seek to exploit it, unafraid to show the viewer the skeletal nature of the theater and, in one instance, boldly using actors as props. The RSC makes excellent use of this mise en scène, bringing to life Dickens's characters with intensity, verve, and just the right notes of melodrama--this being a Dickens story, after all.

Roger Rees plays the young, earnest Nicholas, whose father's death prompts him; his sister, Kate (Emily Richard); and their mother (Jane Downs) to make their way to London to seek out the financial assistance of Nicholas's cold, calculating uncle, Ralph Nickleby (played to scowly perfection by John Woodvine). Ralph grudgingly provides his nephew with employment at a Yorkshire school for abandoned boys under the cartoonishly vile Wackford Squeers (Alun Armstrong), but Nicholas can't stomach the physical abuse Squeers heaps on his students. After lashing out at the sadistic schoolmaster during a particularly savage beating of a child, Nicholas escapes the school, taking with him the most wretched of the young creatures, a limping, crooked-backed boy named Smike (played heart-wrenchingly by David Threlfall). The story unfolds from there, with the now-itinerant Nicholas forced to make his way in the world while adhering to his principles and protecting Kate and their mother from his scheming uncle, who is eventually forced to come to terms with his emotions in the story's shocking conclusion. Typically Dickensian, the characters are neatly divided between good and evil, with little ambiguity. Still, each of the 39 actors in the ensemble does a wonderful job, making it a production that figures to linger in the memory long after you're done clapping. --Steve Landau

Product details

  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ No
  • Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.9 x 7.8 x 4.3 inches; 3.95 Pounds
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 7 hours and 48 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ September 24, 2002
  • Date First Available ‏ : ‎ December 7, 2006
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Alun Armstrong, Suzanne Bertish, Janet Dale, Jane Downs, Cathryn Harrison
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ A&E Home Video
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 6303416543
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 102 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
102 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2016
3 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2014
12 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2004
21 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2014
7 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

M. C. Eldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Squeers is played by Alan Armstrong (not Fulton McKay) as per the description. He is excellent.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2018
4 people found this helpful
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Cecilie Nissen Jøhnk
5.0 out of 5 stars Please make this more accessible for non-English-speakers.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2018
One person found this helpful
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Jason Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbeatably joyful theatre
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 25, 2008
7 people found this helpful
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Merilahti Kristiina
5.0 out of 5 stars How can people act like this?!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2003
39 people found this helpful
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N. Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholas Nickleby
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2009
4 people found this helpful
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