A musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are met by the ruthlessness of big business.
Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) and Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.
Coming back from an extended business trip, Frank discovers that his girlfriend Janie is now working at a new resort hotel where the owner has given her a permanent place to stay, as well ... See full summary »
The film is always listed as running 153 minutes, but this is because of the Overture heard before the film, the Intermission Music, and the Exit Music. The actual film, including the opening credits, runs about 145 minutes. See more »
The "Boy For Sale" sequence deviates from both the novel and history: even during the harshest phases of Poor Law reform it was illegal for the government to sell paupers as slaves to tradespeople. It was also pointless, as apprentices could be had for nothing, and the state had to pay tradespeople for the service of taking paupers off their hands (as is the case in the novel, where the fee is paid by Bumble to Sowerberry). See more »
Wait! Is the boy hurt, ill-treated? If so, I shall...
[referring to Bill Sikes]
I can't say no more, PLEASE! He'll kill me as it is if he finds out!
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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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