David Copperfield

Starring: Michael Richards, Eileen Atkins, Anthony Andrews, Max Dolbey and Sally Field
Arrow Films/Fremantle Home Entertainment
RRP: 15.99 / £19.99 (with book)
FCD170 / FCD170B (with book)
Certificate: PG
Available 26 July 2004

Born to a weak but loving mother soon after his father dies, David Copperfield is nine years old when his mother Clara marries a man named Murdstone. A cruel man who believes in extreme discipline, he has no hesitation in sending David away to school. Shortly after he is sent away, David's mother dies and Murdstone seizes the opportunity to send him away for good, this time for menial labour at a London wine merchants...

This 2000, made for TV, version of David Copperfield is extremely well produced. The acting is first rate and the narrative flows a lot easier than the book does. This movie will certainly appeal to all and is not simply for those who love the book.

There are plenty of familiar faces including Sally Field as Aunt Betsey Trotwood; Judy Cornwell (Keeping up Appearances) as Clara Peggotty Barkis; Dudley Sutton who was more recently seen in Eastenders as con-man Wilfred Atkins; and Julie Cox (Dune and Children of Dune) plays Dora Spenlow Copperfield.

Some of the most memorable performances include Frank MacCusker's twisted and snivelly version of Uriah Heep - a man whose face you instantly want to smash in, and Michael Richards as Mr. Wilkins Micawber - providing much needed comic relief in a pantomime village idiot sort of way.

In fact, to be fair there is not one bad performance here at all - unless you want to have a dig at Sally Field's accent. This seems to switch between perfect Victorian English, to an American attempting to pass as an English woman, and finally as a Scottish woman. Obviously different scenes were filmed at different times, and it is obvious that her very early scenes were filmed when she had mastered the accent - it's a shame she didn't get the opportunity to dub her other scenes though.

There are, sadly, no extras at all. But the biggest crime is that for some reason the DVD producers have decided to change layers in the middle of a scene, in the middle of a sentence, only five minutes from the end of the first episode. What were they thinking of?

Other than that moan, this is a first rate production which is extremely entertaining.

Amber Leigh

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£11.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
£13.49 (MVC.co.uk)
£13.49 (Streetsonline.co.uk)
£14.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
With book
£16.99 (MVC.co.uk)
With book
£16.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)
With book

All prices correct at time of going to press.