Charles Dickens' classical story about the young orphan boy in 1837 England is again re-filmed in grand fashion. Richard Dreyfuss portrays Fagin, the unscrupulous leader of the young ... See full summary »
Young Jimmy is being pursued by the evil Wilhemina W. Witchiepoo. More specifically, Witchiepoo is after Jimmy's small friend, a small solid gold diamond encrusted talking flute named ... See full summary »
The steps at London Bridge are depicted wrong. The real steps were narrow at the top, and widened horizontally at the bottom, allowing a person to hide and eavesdrop on (or watch) those on the upper steps without being seen. The book got this right. See more »
I'm reviewing the situation / Can a fellow be a villain all his life? / All the trials and tribulations. / Better settle down and get myself a wife! / And a wife would cook and sew for me, / And come for me, and go for me, / And go for me, and nag at me, / The fingers, she would wag at me. / The money she would take from me. / A misery, she'll make from me... I think I'd better think it out again!
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A true work of art...excellent songs, amazing performances...
"Oliver!" is a vast improvement over the marvelous Broadway stage version, opening up the scenes with the ability to expand the range of the material and still remain faithful to the Dickens story. Brimming with unforgettable songs and dances (that choreography by Onna White is timeless), it is so well cast--down to the smallest roles--and so faithful to the spirit of Dickens' work that you can no longer imagine that classic without the songs.
Fagin is played to perfection by Ron Moody. His "You Gotta Pick A Pocket Or Two" is just one of the highlights incorporating clever lyrics and great choreography. The boys who kidnap Oliver are a rowdy lot, looking every bit the ruffians they're supposed to be. The best of the lot is Jack Wild's Artful Dodger, leading the gang in "Consider Yourself".
But not all is light and cheery. The darker aspects of the story are sometimes a little too graphic for my taste, although all of the performances are extremely well played, including Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes. The scenes involving his demise are so melodramatic they seem to belong to another film.
Whatever the faults may be, including a rather extended running time, there is scarcely a dull moment. With songs like "Who Will Buy?" and "Where Is Love?" -- not to mention "Food, Glorious Food" -- you will find yourself falling under the spell of this great musical. Highly recommended and fully deserving of its Best Picture Oscar.
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