While this film is not especially well-remembered today, and has been eclipsed by practically all of the later film versions of the Charles Dickens novel, it did begin a Hollywood "fad" for Dickens that lasted for about five years. It was followed by Great Expectations (1934) (a poorly reviewed and now forgotten version with Jane Wyatt and Phillips Holmes), the classic MGM all-star David Copperfield (1935), Universal's Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935) (with Claude Rains), the classic A Tale of Two Cities (1935) - another MGM Dickens blockbuster - and MGM's 1938 A Christmas Carol (1938) with Reginald Owen. There would be very few versions of Dickens from Hollywood after that; most films based on Dickens' books would be made by British studios. However, notable exceptions have been the many versions of "A Christmas Carol" produced for American television. See more »
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This poverty row adaptation (courtesy of Monogram) of the Charles Dickens classic has about as much finesse as a school pageant, despite the appearance of old pros like Irving Pichel (as Fagin) and Lionel Belmore (as Mr. Bumble). As a matter of fact, while the film has a couple of choice moments in its second half, any good intentions are done in by some serious miscasting: an overage Artful Dodger (Sonny Ray) and Nancy (Doris Lloyd) and, worst of all, an unsympathetic Oliver (Dickie Moore). Rather than proving an asset, its short running time (70 minutes) gives a careless, rushed air to the proceedings and ensures a total absence of the visual poetry which marked David Lean's definitive 1948 version.
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