Based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket ... See full summary »
Noel Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after WWI the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is led by the ... See full summary »
Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in ... See full summary »
James A. Marcus,
Based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket and he joins a household of young boys who are trained to steal for their master. This version of Oliver Twist is topped by Alec Guinness's masterly performance of arch-thug Fagin. Written by
Jenny Evans <J.Evans@uts.edu.au>
The wordless opening sequence, in which Oliver's mother staggers over the rain-swept moors to give birth on the steps of the workhouse, was devised by Kay WalshSee more »
In the scene where Oliver is in the dock, being tried for pick-pocketing; after the judge says "Oh stand away" the camera becomes an Oliver POV shot. Just before Oliver totally collapses he looks up to the ceiling, (and therefore so does the camera) briefly showing the full studio rafters, complete with lights, and the set microphone, and part of the "set ceiling". See more »
Let him be or I'll put that mark on you that'll send me to the gallows before me time.
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Robert Newton as Bill Sykes and Sir Alec Guinness as Fagan-two of the best actors ever in their greatest roles!
David Lean knew how to capture the essence of Dickension London pitch-perfectly.
Robert Newton gives the finest performance of his life as Bill Sykes, the murderous thief who uses Alec Guinness' Fagan as his fence. The two men have an uneasy relationship that comes apart toward the end of the film. As actors, Newton and Guinness have a chemistry and an acting partnership that is superb. I have rarely seen two actors so perfectly matched in any film. I only wish they had done other films together.
Sykes has a girlfriend, Nancy, who is loyal to the point of death. The murder scene and the scene that follows are brilliant. There is Sykes, drunk and paranoid accusing his only love of betraying him. She pleads for her life in vain. The next scene is oddly quiet. Sykes in a chair contemplating the body with early morning light streaming through a filthy window onto the body. Newton's portrait of Sykes, the man who killed the thing he loved most in the world- the guilt and remorse that flutter across his face are wrenching. That silent scene will stay with me forever.
There was a great deal of controversy over Guinness's portrait of Fagan. His explanation of himself to Oliver, "They say I am a miser..." is chilling and pathetic at the same time. In this early film of Sir Alec's you see his genius for characterization. Guinness played Fagan as a Jew with a distrust and a hatred of humanity that is hard to top.
Director Lean assembled the finest actors in England at the time for his Oliver Twist. He created a seamless story that was a classic the moment it was released. David Lean's Oliver Twist is still the BEST adaptation of ANY Dickens story on film.
Special praise goes to the film score, which has been recorded many times and has entered the classical music rep. as incidental music. The Oliver Theme and the Fagan theme are instantly recognizable.
A MUST SEE!
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