Henry Hobson is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
Noël Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is ... See full summary »
Based on the Charles Dickens novel, this movie 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 Sir Alec Guinness' masterly performance of archthug 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 actress Kay Walsh (Nancy). See more »
17 minutes into the film, Oliver is delivered for his apprenticeship and the old gentleman is holding a candle. As he approaches the door you can see an electric cable powering the "candle" being pulled quickly along by his feet. See more »
I thieved for you when I was a child not half his age, and I've thieved for you ever since, don't you know it!
And if you have, it is your living!
Aye, it is. It is my living. And you're the wretch that drove me to them long ago, and that'll keep me there, day and night, day and night, DAY AND NIGHT!
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The film did not premiere in the U.S. until 1951, after ten minutes of footage involving Alec Guinness as Fagin had been cut, due to Jewish pressure groups who claimed that Guinness's portrayal was offensive and anti-Semitic. See more »
After viewing over 10,000 movies, I still have the same opinion I had after I saw this movie the first time and had watched maybe a thousand films at that point: this is simply the best-looking black-and-white film I've ever seen.
On the Criterion DVD, scene after scene is just jaw-dropping. I have never seen so many incredible shots with wonderful contrasts of light and dark. Much of this is filmed dark rooms or nighttime in the cobblestone streets. Those scenes, combined with many facial closeups, great buildings, and interesting camera angles, all make this an incredible viewing experience.
All of this helps make up for watching a depressing story. It was just unappealing, at least to me, because all the people except for the little boy are unlikable. Some of them mistreat the little kid and that's difficult to watch. I'm a sucker for nice people, especially an innocent child, and to see suffer is not fun to me.
One of those bad guys, however, is memorable: Fagin, played by Alec Guiness. In this film, he has to be one of the ugliest people I've ever seen, sporting the biggest nose ever put on screen. A teenage Anthony Newley as "the artful Dodger" also stands out.
But, as someone who is into art, David Lean's direction and Guy Green's camera-work draw me back to this DVD every couple of years...and at least I always know there is a happy ending for the one nice kid in the film.
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