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
In Victorian England, young "Oliver Twist" is born in poverty. His mother dies and his father is unaccounted for (assuming you know the story, this version drops hints). The innocent kid grows into Jackie Coogan (as Oliver Twist). A sprightly waif, young Coogan is sent to a workhouse and gets in trouble for requesting more gruel. Running away from abusive conditions, Coogan heads for "polluted" London. He meets "The Artful Dodger" Edouard Trebaol (as Jack Dawkins) and joins a gang of boy pick-pockets led by the crafty old Lon Chaney (as Fagin). The shriveled scoundrel's henchman George Siegmann (as Bill Sikes) and his woman Gladys Brockwell (as Nancy) come to play an important part in Coogan's life...
Sol Lesser and the Coogan family correctly saw Charles Dickens' classic story as an excellent vehicle for their young star, who adds a touch of his own personality to the character. This major production was found and restored in the 1970s. Another famed version, Paramount's 1916 "Oliver Twist" starring Marie Doro is presently unavailable. Although Ms. Doro is miscast for more than one reason, it would be nice to see her "Oliver" in circulation. That "all-star" version featured a cast even more acclaimed (for the time) than this one; notwithstanding the presence of Mr. Chaney, of course. Carl Stockdale (as Monks) plays his role in both. This film is a great one to see if you're not familiar with "silent" films, but know the Dickens.
******** Oliver Twist (10/30/22) Frank Lloyd ~ Jackie Coogan, Lon Chaney, George Siegmann, Gladys Brockwell
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