The Pickwick Papers (1952 film)

The Pickwick Papers is a 1952 British black-and-white film based on the Charles Dickens’s 1836 novel of the same name. Both screenplay and direction were by Noel Langley.

The Pickwick Papers
Original British 1952 quad film poster
Directed byNoel Langley
Produced byGeorge Minter
Noel Langley
Screenplay byNoel Langley
Based onThe Pickwick Papers
by Charles Dickens
StarringJames Hayter
James Donald
Nigel Patrick
Joyce Grenfell
Hermione Baddeley
Hermione Gingold
Music byAntony Hopkins
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byAnne V. Coates
Distributed byRenown Picture Corp.[2] (UK)
Release date
  • 14 November 1952 (1952-11-14) (UK[3])
Running time
115 min[2]
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film premiered at the Gaumont Cinema at Haymarket in London on 14 November 1952.[3] In 1954, the Soviet Union paid £10,000 for the distribution rights, and it became the first British film to be shown in the Soviet Union after World War II, premiering on 29 July 1954 in a number of cities with a dubbed soundtrack.[4] The film was followed a month later by a Russian reprint of Dickens's book, in 150,000 copies.[5]

Main cast

Awards and nominations

  • James Hayter was nominated for the BAFTA Best British Actor award in 1953 for his portrayal of Samuel Pickwick.
  • The Pickwick Papers was awarded a Golden Bear in the Soviet Union in 1954[6]
  • In 1956, Beatrice Dawson was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White for the film's costumes.

Critical reception

Leonard Maltin gave the film three out of four stars, calling it a "Flavorful adaptation of Dickens' classic";[7] and TV Guide rated it three out of five stars, writing, "If ever a Dickens novel shouted to be filmed, it was The Pickwick Papers, and a jolly good job was done with this version...It's a very funny film with some of England's best light comedians and comediennes."[8]

Colourised version

In 2012, a digitally restored and colourised version of the film was released on DVD, causing a renewed debate in the UK about colourisation of old black-and-white classics.[9]


  1. BFI: The Pickwick Papers Linked 2013-12-06
  2. BBFC: The Pickwick Papers (1952) Linked 2013-12-06
  3. The Times, 13 November 1952, page 2, film review – "Dickens on Screen": "The Pickwick Papers goes into the programme at the Gaumont Cinema to-morrow." – Found in The Times Digital Archive 2013-12-06
  4. The Times, 30 July 1954, page 11: Dickens Film In Russia – Found in The Times Digital Archive 2013-12-06
  5. The Times, 14 August 1954, page 3, Telegrams in Brief: A new edition of 150,000 copies of 'Pickwick Papers' has been published in Russia, Moscow Radio reports. – Found in The Times Digital Archive 2013-12-06
  6. Harper, Sue & Porter, Vincent. British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference, page 163, Oxford University Press, 2007
  7. "Pickwick Papers, The (1954) - Overview -".
  8. "The Pickwick Papers".
  9. MovieMail, 15 November 2012: The Colourisation Debate – Not All Black and White Linked 2013-12-06


  • Harper, Sue & Porter, Vincent. British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press, 2007.
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