A poor girl falls for a wealthy young man. He invites her to his gala birthday party, but she doesn't have the right kind of dress to wear, so her family and friends band together to raise ... See full summary »
Nineteenth century England. When Nicholas Nickleby's father dies and leaves his family destitute, his uncle, the greedy moneylender, Ralph Nickleby, finds Nicholas a job teaching in a ... See full summary »
When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.
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 »
When Oliver is trying to keep up with the horse cart on his adventure to London, he is clearly stopping each time to get into the correct position before doing a flip. See more »
My baby, my boy. I want to see him.
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It's like a Cliff Notes version of the book--what else could you expect from Monogram?!
Monogram Studios was one of a group of super-low budget film production companies that was nicknamed a "Poverty Row Studio" because it was so cheaply made. Plus, like other Poverty Rows, the studio actually rented space--filming on sets belonging to other studios after normal business hours. So, because of this, I have learned not to expect much from Monogram--they are what they are...cheap. However, their films COULD be fun (such as the Charlie Chan films)...unfortunately, "Oliver Twist" was not only very cheap but not particularly fun. In many ways, it looks like a film whose script was based on a Cliff Notes version of the story with a budget of about $49.99! And, sadly, there really isn't anything positive I can say about the film.
The very biggest problem with this film is the casting--not the crappy script (though that is a close second). Dickie Moore was cute as a button but totally terrible here. Now he was a nice actor--but here he was just too young and he delivered his lines and he would improve later. Plus as a young kid in full-length film, his style tended to be very emotional and a bit whiny--not tough enough enough for the role. Also, oddly, the Artful Dodger looked old enough to perhaps play Fagan! And, too many of the actors just limped through the roles. A British production also had an edge because the actors didn't have problems sounding British--here they mostly sound American.
Now as to the script, it was too episodic--tending to show little snippets from the book all stretched together and not a smooth narrative. Plus, it was just so limp and lifeless--it was depressing how dull they could make Dickens. While I am not the biggest Dickens fan in the world, I never could have accused the author of being dull--and this film is dull.
A final problem may not be script-related. Too often scenes which should have been bigger looked as if they were being filmed in phone booths. The workhouse was omitted--probably due to budget constraints. But how can you not show the workhouse AND do the story?! Overall, a very, very, very weak effort. It's listless and poor and you would do 100 times better to watch the nice 1948 version or my favorite, the amazingly lovely musical from 1968. Regardless, don't waste your time with this Monogram version unless you are a student who didn't do your reading for a book report and want a condensed and dull overview!
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