After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby (Derek Bond), and his mother (Mary Merrall) and sister (Sally Ann Howes) are cared for by his greedy Uncle Ralph (Cedric Hardwicke), who accepts the duty rather unwillingly. Ralph arranges for Nicholas to get a job at a notoriously brutal school for boys, where he befriends Smike, one of the ill-treated students. He and Smike flee the school and join a theatrical troop. Nicholas has to protect Smike while trying to stop his Uncle Ralph from taking advantage of his sister and, later, his sweetheart Madeline Bray, whose father is in debtors prison. Also starring Stanley Holloway, Alfred Drayton, Cyril Fletcher and Bernard Miles. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. Black & white.
The death of his father forces Nicolas, his mother and sister to seek help from his father’s brother Ralph. They are driven by desperation to rely on Uncle Ralph, unaware of his less than stellar character and innate selfishness.Uncle Ralph secures a job for Nicholas as an assistant at a strict and unsavory school for orphaned and unwanted boys. Unable to tolerate the unfair and cruel treatment of one of the youngsters, Nicholas physically strikes back at those in authority over him, delivering a beating to the overseer of the school. He flees the school and, in a desperate attempt to save the young boy’s life, chooses to take him along. We follow Nicholas and his prodigy as they attempt to build a new life. Both Uncle Ralph and the overseer of the school are relentless in their pursuit to find and destroy Nicholas and his family. Commitment, a deep seated desire to do right, and an unrelenting love for family and those less fortunate are themes of this retelling of a classic Charles Dickens novel. We are happy to award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12+.