David Copperfield, M-G-M, 1935
Well, I had to bring up Dickens at some point, so why not now? :-)
David O. Selznick, best known for bringing Gone With the Wind (1939) to the big screen, went through a period in the middle 1930s where he brought some of the books he enjoyed when he was a lad to the screen.
This was his try at David Copperfield, and it was quite successful. I'll admit that I can't remember the last time I saw this film; it's not something that's run on the movie channels all the time. But with DOS at the producing helm, combined with M-G-M's moolah (and all-around expertise and sheen that was sometimes the envy of the other movie studios), it turned out quite well.
The cast is almost completely British (duh, right?); there was an ample "British colony" of actors in Hollywood at the time (might still be, for all I know).
So here's your trivia stuff for today:
- Charles Laughton (the original Mutiny on the Bounty is probably what he's best known for) originally had the role of Micawber. After three or four days of work, Laughton gave up the part.
- W. C. Fields took over the Micawber role. Yes, that W. C. Fields! Offbeat casting (to put it mildly), but it worked out well.
- M-G-M budgeted the film at just under $1 million (a considerable sum in the 1930s, especially for a non-musical film), but the production costs ballooned to $1,069,225.
- By the end of summer 1935, the picture had grossed $3.5 million in the U.S. alone.
- David O. Selznick and George Cukor (they were friends, after all) took a trip to England to find the young version of David Copperfield. They saw more than 2,500 actors, testing about 100 of these.
- They found their David not among the 100 tested; it was a sudden thing, wherein 10-year-old Freddie Bartholomew was submitted by his aunt. His parents weren't as enthusiastic about the idea of his becoming a movie actor...but as you can see in the picture in this post (Micawber and young Master Copperfield), Freddie won out.