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Oliver Twist (1933)

 -  Drama  -  28 February 1933 (USA)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 212 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 2 critic

An orphan boy in 1830's London is abused in a workhouse, then falls into the clutches of a gang of thieves.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Oliver Twist (1933)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
William 'Stage' Boyd ...
Bill Sikes (as Wm. Boyd)
Doris Lloyd ...
Alec B. Francis ...
Barbara Kent ...
Sonny Ray ...
George K. Arthur ...
George Nash ...
Clyde Cook ...
Chitling
Lionel Belmore ...
Tempe Pigott ...
Nelson McDowell ...
Virginia Sale ...
Harry Holman ...
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Storyline

An orphan boy in 1830's London is abused in a workhouse, then falls into the clutches of a gang of thieves.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

28 February 1933 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Balsley & Phillips Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Oliver's Mother: My baby, my boy. I want to see him.
See more »

Connections

Version of Oliver Twist, Jr. (1921) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It's like a Cliff Notes version of the book--what else could you expect from Monogram?!
22 October 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

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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