The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Nicholas Nickleby is a young man cast adrift in a morally ambiguous world, where those who should offer the greatest affection and protection too often turn out to be the most cynical and unrepentant exploiters.
Dispatched to a squalid school for orphans by his treacherous uncle, Ralph Nickleby (Cedric Hardwicke), Nicholas befriends the gentle, crippled Smike (Aubrey Woods) and resolves to take charge of his destiny.
Director Alberto Cavalcanti's game adaptation of Dickens' hefty novel was unfairly overshadowed by David Lean's screen version of the more narratively compressed Great Expectations, released a year earlier in 1946.
Indeed, Ealing Studios' Nicholas Nickleby is the only British production of Dickens' novel filmed for theatrical release, though various made-for-television adaptations have flourished in more recent decades.
"An 'Ealing noir' directed by Alberto Cavalcanti with an all-pervading atmosphere of chill menace, it is presided over by the brooding presence of Cedric Hardwicke as Ralph Nickleby." - BFI