Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in ... See full summary »
In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »
Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in by a gang of thieves who befriend him for their own purposes. All the while, there are secrets from Oliver's family history waiting to come to light. Written by
I expected a little more from this film than it delivered. It was not imaginative visually and the excellent cast was often not given the opportunity to explore their characters. This was especially true of Lon Chaney, whose Fagin does very little. Of course he looks great and the shot of him in prison toward the end is unforgettable.
I suspect the film-makers were more concerned with making this a Jackie Coogan picture rather than a Charles Dickens one - and this is where the film loses its narrative drive and character development. Mind you Coogan is excellent, but they really turn Oliver into the Kid, he even wears the same hat. I was impressed by Gladys Brockwell as Nancy, and the death of Bill Sykes is pretty special, but overall the film falls a little flat. Of course the hideous music on the Madacy tape I saw didn't help - nor the horrible flickering of the EP recording.
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