The Pickwick Papers 1952 – James Hayter

 

In 1952 James Hayter appeared in his two most famous roles – and the roles to me that he was best in and best remembered in.  First came the wonderful ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ with Richard Todd and Joan Rice – with James Hayter playing Friar Tuck – with his performance ensuring that he was one of the main characters.

Then came this one as Mr Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers.

Interestingly James Hayter played Friar Tuck in the classic Disney Film mentioned above – and Alexander Gauge, who was in The Pickwick Papers played him in the TV Series with Richard Greene – and played the part in similar style to the way James Hayter had done.

 

Pickwick Papers 1952

 

James Hayter  is excellent as  Mr Pickwick, the lead character in this adaptation of ‘The Pickwick Papers’ by Charles Dickens.

Not in the same league as the David Lean-directed ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ which preceded it, this film, directed by Noel Langley, is nevertheless not bad. It is entertaining, with an excellent cast ranging through character actors such as Donald Wolfit,  James Donald, Hermoines Baddeley and Gingold, Nigel Patrick, and William Hartnell and  Joyce Grenfell.

This was not  an expensive production, but it contained nice touches, such as Kathleen Harrison’s twitchy Rachel; Mr Jingle’s deck of cards; the runaway horse; and an early display of outraged bluster from Hattie Jacques.

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 2ABOVE:  Diane Hart as Emily Wardle watches hairdresser Bill Griffiths tidy up the Fat Boy played by Gerald Campion – later to become very famous at BBC TVs Billy Bunter

 

James Hayter is also often  remembered in the UK as the voice of Mr Kipling in the TV advertisements, but here as Mr Pickwick he is excellent

Pickwick Papers 1952 3

 

ABOVE: The Pickwickians – Mr Snodgrass ( Lionel Murton), Mr Pickwick (James Hayter) and Mr Winkle ( James Donald)

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 4

 

ABOVE:  Grandma Dingle ( Mary Merrall),  Mr Wardle (Walter Fitzgerald) and Mr Pickwick and Emily

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 5

 

ABOVE:  Harry Fowler with Joan Heal and Diane Hart

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 6

ABOVE:  Harry Fowler as Sam Weller – he got the part on the performance he had give in the film ‘I Believe in You’

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