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 »
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,
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 »
Henry Hobson runs a successful bootmaker's shop in nineteenth-century Salford. A widower with a weakness for the pub opposite, he tries forcefully to run the lives of his three unruly ... See full summary »
Brenda de Banzie
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 character played by Betty Paul - "'Singer at 'Three Cripples'" was introduced as 'Lucy Willow'. At the time of the filming of "Oliver Twist", Betty Paul was appearing in London as "Suzanne Valdis" in "Bless The Bride" (a role she repeated in BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Bless the Bride (1956)) - and in the same production, Elizabeth Webb took the leading female part of 'Lucy Willow'. This cannot be a coincidence but has apparently never been commented on. See more »
The end credits misspell Bill Sikes' name as 'Sykes'. See more »
This excellent film is part of a duo of Dickens' books turned into silver screen magic by David Lean in the 1940s (Great Expectations with John Mills is the other).
Keeping to the spirit of the book (although not leaving the bleak ending intact) it allows us to follow the fortunes of young Oliver (John Howard Davies, who later gave up acting to become a big shot at the BBC), through his unhappy years at the orphanage under the watchful eye of the Beadle (the huge Francis L Sullivan, who played many similar roles throughout the decade), to his association with boy thieves under the thumb of Jewish money-dealer Fagin (Alec Guinness, in one of his career highlights).
The casting is generally superb - Kay Walsh (then Mrs David Lean) is effective as Nancy, while Robert Newton is suitably unhinged and menacing as Bill Sikes. In the undertaker's, Diana Dors is showy as Charlotte the maid; while in London, Anthony Newley makes an early scene-stealing Artful Dodger (like Jack Wild in the musical version, this Dodger isn't all bad and wants to make sure Nancy and Oliver are all right).
'Oliver Twist' is one of the greats of British cinema and does justice to a complex book. Highly recommended.
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