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 (a poorly reviewed and now forgotten version with Jane Wyatt and Phillips Holmes), the classic MGM all-star David Copperfield, Universal's Mystery of Edwin Drood (with Claude Rains), the classic A Tale of Two Cities - another MGM Dickens blockbuster - and MGM's 1938 A Christmas Carol 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 »
My baby, my boy. I want to see him.
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This was the second "Oliver Twist" movie version I got to see. The first one I saw was the 1948 version. In comparison, I think that this 1933 version is neither inferior neither superior to the 1948 version, just different. It's an interesting alternative to the 1948 version, though, although (admittedly) that one is more detailed and more loyal to the book. The 1933 version moves at a faster pace. As a result, it is considerably shorter. This version is also clearly made under a cheaper budget while the 1948 version looks more expensive, but this fact doesn't bother me.
The 1933 version isn't yet the first movie adaptation of this familiar story, however it had the merit of being the first sound version. In this version, Irving Pichel plays Fagin and frankly I prefer him over the 1948 version's Fagin who is just too ugly and creepy. At least Fagin here is nowhere near as creepy. The controversial William "Stage" Boyd stars as Bill Sikes in this version. Comparing to the 1948 version's Sikes, this Sikes looks much bigger and more intimidating although more delicate in his speeches.
I like Dickie Moore as Oliver Twist. Even though John Howard Davies plays Oliver Twist with more feeling and his acting seems more realistic, I don't think that Dickie Moore is any inferior. His performance is just different. Dickie Moore is perfectly cute although he is a quite young and tiny Oliver Twist. True, sometimes he makes hilarious faces which aren't appropriate for the scenes he is performing, but I find that rather amusing instead of something to criticize and I like him for that.
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