Synopsis by Mike Cummings
In this Disney version of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, Nell Trent is well cared for by her kind and gentle grandfather (Peter Ustinov) at his London curiosity shop. She, in turn, looks after him, cooking meals and keeping him company with her angelic smile and loving nature, vowing never to leave him. All is well, or so it seems. But unknown to 13-year-old Nell, Grandfather Trent has a dark and dangerous obsession: gambling. Having lost his savings to the spendthrift ways of demanding relatives, he now pins his hopes for financial solvency -- and Nell's future -- on the luck of the draw. Every night, as Nell sleeps safely and soundly, he puts on his top hat, takes his cane in hand, and makes his way through narrow alleyways to a wooden door. After knocking, he enters and sits down to a card game by candlelight. When he leaves hours later, his pockets are empty -- always empty. To pay his gambling debts and stake himself to new games, he borrows heavily from a predatory moneylender, Daniel Quilp (Tom Courtenay). One day, after Quilp discovers what's been happening to the loans, he lays claim to the curiosity shop and takes steps to imprison Grandfather Trent. Nell and the now penniless old man think Nell's best friend, Kit Nubbles (William Mannering), betrayed them to Quilp, which is untrue. To escape the wrath of the vicious Quilp, they run off, going from town to town and meeting an odd and colorful assortment of characters along the way.
debt, dwarf, gambling, grandfather, money-lender, on-the-run, shop