George Cukor, 1935
USA | Format: 35mm | 130 minutes
Cukor recruited an all-star cast of character actors for his take on Charles Dickens’ sprawling novel: Roland Young, Elizabeth Allen, Lionel Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, and, in a casting coup, legendary comedian W.C. Fields (replacing Charles Laughton as the ever-hopeful clerk Micawber). The result is still deemed one of Hollywood’s finest literary adaptations: in Gavin Lambert’s words, “the truest Dickens film ever made.” It’s a rich, comic, humane panorama of 19th-century British life, featuring a remarkable turn by Fields—who jumped at the chance to finally get lost in a character. With a screenplay by the great British novelist Sir Hugh Walpole.