The Pickwick Club send out Mr. Pickwick (James Hayter) and his companions to adventure around England and report back on what they discover as they observe human nature and jot down interesting facts. But their habit of jotting down what people say leads them into various misunderstandings and scrapes despite their complete innocence. On their journeys they meet the lively Mr. Jingle (Nigel Patrick) who also is an observer of human nature and who often is responsible for the mishaps and misunderstandings.
Back in the 80s when I was still at school and hating every minute of it we had various books we had to read for English but not a single one was by Charles Dickens. I mention that as whilst most people tend to know Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" I suspect his other stories are not so well known. And that leads me to the 1952 movie "The Pickwick Papers" and adaptation of one of Dickens' earlier comedy novels and one which I haven't read, no surprise there. Unfortunately I feel to really enjoy and appreciate this movie you need to have read Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers" first.
So from someone who has not read "The Pickwick Papers" what we have is this tale of comic misadventure featuring comic characters, from the rotund Mr. Pickwick to the nervous Mr. Winkle. These misadventures include almost getting into a fight with a Cab Driver to almost getting into a duel due to confusion over a coat. The thing is that whilst the ideas are funny and the characters are comically looking they are thrown at us in such a way it almost presumes you already know them. Maybe that is how the book is but it makes it awkward for those who don't the book.
What this all boils down to is that "The Pickwick Papers" didn't do it for me and I put that down to having never read the original novel. As such this is one of those rare cases when I suggest reading the novel first before watching the movie as I am sure that is the only way to really appreciate "The Pickwick Papers".