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 »
American botanical expedition in the Himalayas stumbles across a Yeti den, capture one and transport it back to Los Angeles, where it escapes while customs officials are debating whether it is animal or human.
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
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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Considering it's from Monogram, it's surprisingly good.
I was a bit surprised to find that tiny and ultra-low budget studio Monogram made this Dickens story--well before the famous British version from the late 1940s and the Oscar-winning musical. Now because Monogram had few funds compared to the big studios, I expected the film to be terrible but it actually surprised me. It was competently made and in some ways surprisingly good.
When the film begins, you see a shot that is supposed to be England back in the 19th century--but you can see rather modern buildings from this aerial view! Fortunately, the rest of the film DID look period and the costumes and sets appropriate. But, because it was Monogram, the film is full of mostly unknown and lesser talents. By far the most famous star is young Dickie Moore who plays Oliver Twist--a bad casting decision but not a surprising one as Moore was about the hottest male child actor of the day. He was simply adorable. But, he was also too young for the role and he was not a particularly good actor--at least in this point in his young life. Also, oddly, the Artful Dodger was way too old--looking like a man in his 20s instead of a precocious teen criminal. As for the rest, however, they were surprisingly good.
As far as the story goes, it was greatly rushed--and that is the biggest deficit of the film apart from Moore. Instead of slowly unfolding it seemed to go way too quickly. But, it did hit the important parts of the Dickens story and did something subsequent versions seemed to forget--that in the end, Fagan was hung for his litany of crimes! All in all, worth seeing and surprisingly well done.
NOTE: I previously reviewed this one and was much harsher towards it. I am not sure why, but it seemed better the second time around...
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