This is a great classic Brit film-showing out of stock at the mo but if you don't mind waiting a few days more, this is an excellent price for a wonderful Sunday afternoon film.................
Orson Welles planned to adapt Charles Dickens's picaresque novel as his follow-up to Citizen Kane. However, W.C. Fields's schedule couldn't be amended and another tantalising project was consigned to Hollywood's alternative history.
James Hayter might not have had Fields's charisma, but the man who went on to voice the Mr Kipling commercials does make an exceedingly good Pickwick. What's more, he's ably supported by a splendid supporting cast of British stalwarts, with Alexander Gauge (Tupman), James Donald (Winkle) and Lionel Murton (Snodgrass) making up the other members of the Pickwick Club, whose misadventures both amuse and provide the odd salutory lesson.
However, Nigel Patrick steals the show as Mr Jingle, who exudes mischievous amorality, as he dupes the quartet into many of their scrapes - although Pickwick's breach of promise suit with Mrs. Bardell (Hermione Baddeley) is equally entertaining. That said, this results in his incarceration in the debtors' prison and director Noel Langley admirably tempers the tone to expose the darker side of Victorian England. Indeed, Langley (who also scripted Alastair Sim's Scrooge) does an excellent job throughout of compressing Dickens' text and keeping so many characters in focus.