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Trivia / David Copperfield

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  • All-Star Cast: 1935 film, 1969 film, 2019 film and 1999 and 2000 miniseries.
  • Creator Breakdown: Dickens was writing this based in large part on his life story, and sometimes things were a bit too painful to remember, so he fudged. For instance, Dickens makes David (himself in print) quite perfect and upright; kills off Dora because he was unsatisfied with his own wife for some of the same reasons; and Agnes' personality developed from his idealization of her real-life model, Mary Hogarth, who died in his arms at innocent seventeen.
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  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Charles Dickens named the book "the favourite child" among his works.
  • Executive Meddling: A very minor example in the 1935 movie. When the man David hires to take him to Dover rides off with his money, the authorities appear out of nowhere and chase him into the distance. David's money is not recovered however, and the it's obvious the only reason this was added was to comply with the newly enforced Hays Code's policy that if someone commits a crime, they must be caught for it onscreen.
  • Missing Episode:
    • The 1956 miniseries is completely lost.
    • Only four episodes survive of the 1966 miniseries.
  • The Other Marty: Charles Laughton's Micawber. Who knows where those dailies are that Laughton saw and realized he just wasn't right for the part.
  • Playing Against Type: W. C. Fields — the juggling acid-tongue comic with a fondness for booze — was cast on the recommendation of Charles Laughton. Filming had begun with Laughton on the role, but he didn't feel he was right for the partnote . Laughton knew Fields was a Dickens scholar and thought he would be perfect. They had to negotiate a deal with Paramount to get him, finally agreeing to cover the losses for the film Mississippi that Fields had been working on, for the duration of Fields' work on this. It worked and Fields gave one of the best performances of his career.
    • This is one of the only films in which Fields doesn't ad-lib. He said later the only words he was faithful to were Dickens'. He did want to do some juggling early on but Cukor wouldn't allow it. He also refused to have his head shaved, pointing out numerous actors who'd played Micawber with a full head of hair.
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    • Fields is not essaying a recognizable British accent, but said his father, who was from England, spoke that way, so technically it was.
  • Remake Cameo: Ian McKellen played David in the 1966 miniseries and Mr. Creakle in the 1999 miniseries.
  • Write What You Know: The most autobiographical of all Dickens' works.
  • Write Who You Know: Dickens based Micawber on his father, who faced similar financial problems, but never emigrated.


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