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Oliver Twist (1909)

An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.


J. Stuart Blackton


Charles Dickens (novel), Eugene Mullin


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Cast overview:
Edith Storey ... Oliver
William Humphrey ... Fagin
Elita Proctor Otis ... Nancy Sykes


A woman arrives with her baby to a nursing home. She is very sick and dies soon afterwards. The infant, called Oliver Twist, is placed in an orphanage. Some years later the young Oliver, at a meal in the dining hall, dares to ask for some more food. He is punished for his audacity, and runs away from the orphanage. On the road he meets the Artful Dodger, a young pickpocket, who brings him to Fagin's den. Fagin, the old leader of a juvenile gang, orders the boys to teach Oliver their trade. They fail to pickpocket the wealthy Mr. Brownlow, and flee away, leaving the innocent Oliver behind. Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver. When Oliver, in his new fine clothes, goes on an errand, he is recaptured by the criminals Bill and Nancy Sykes, who bring him back to Fagin. Bill forces Oliver to help him in a burglary, but the attempt goes wrong, and Oliver is once more under the care of his benefactors. The kindhearted Nancy feels sorry for Oliver, and has a secret meeting with Mr. Brownlow to warn him... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Short





Release Date:

1 May 1909 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twist Olivér See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Version of Oliver Twist (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

A World In Turmoil
1 September 2006 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Dickens' OLIVER TWIST is lovingly filmed for the screen by Vitagraph co-head, Blackton. A good deal of money has obviously been spent on costume and sets, but it is evident that Blackton was not concerned with the major changes in the industry that Griffith was wreaking at the Biograph Studios in Manhattan and that, indeed, were going on in New Jersey at the Edison Studios. The sets are clearly stage flats; the actors emote in a stagy fashion that was already a bit old fashioned; and the world of Oliver Twist fits snugly into a proscenium arch. Within two years, Blackton would largely retreat to the business office and Vitagraph would begin to produce some innovations of its own, but in an industry undergoing such rapid changes, two years was little short of eternity.

One advance worth noting is the crediting of a performer on screen: Elita Proctor Otis as Nancy. Miss Otis had a career on Broadway that spanned about 25 years and apparently Blackton wanted her badly enough to offer her a screen credit. It is the earliest one I have seen, giving her a good claim to being the first screen star.

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