Saturday, August 7, 2010

Movie 25 Review: Oliver!

"Oliver!" is a 1968 Musical Film based on the Stage Play of the same name that was based on the book "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens ("A Christmas Carol", "David Copperfield", "A Tale of Two Cities"), directed by Carol Reed ("The Third Man", "The Running Man", "Follow Me!"). It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Musical Score, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, & an Honorary Award for Best Choreography. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ron Moody), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Wild), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

It Starred Mark Lester ("Melody", "Run Wild, Run Free", "La Prima volta sull'erba") as Oliver Twist, Ron Moody (The "Oliver!" Stage Musical, "The Mouse on the Moon ", "Flight Of The Doves") as Fagin, Shani Wallis (The "Aladdin" Stage Pantomime, "Terror in the Wax Museum", "Basil The Great Mouse Detective") as Nancy, Oliver Reed ("The Three Musketeers", "Treasure Island", "Gladiator") as Bill Sykes, & Jack Wild ("H.R. Pufnstuf", "Melody", "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves") as "The Artful Dodger" Jack Dawkins.

It's supporting cast included Harry Secombe as Mr Bumble, Joseph O'Conor as Mr. Brownlow, Hugh Griffith as The Magistrate, Leonard Rossiter as Sowerberry, Hylda Baker as Mrs. Sowerberry, Kenneth Cranham as Noah Claypole, Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Bedwin, Sheila White as Bet, & Wensley Pithey as Dr. Grimwig

The film is about the young orphan, Oliver Twist in about 1837 England, kicked out of his orphanage at 9-Years-Old and forced to live on his own. He ends up in London and meets up with Jack Dawkins and is taken in by Jack's caretaker, the crafty Fagin. Oliver experiences a wild ride through the grimy slums to the peaceful high-class society.

"Oliver!" is a film that I saw when I was about 5 and didn't remember a thing about it except for the famous line "Please Sir, I want some more". So I'm considering this as a new film. And what a great film it is.

The story is good and the music is very memorable but the star of the show is definitely Ron Moody as Fagin. It helps that he defined the character and made it his own in his work of the stageplay, but the way he's able to encompass the film in even the most subtle of ways is what makes his performance great. From the way he dashes around like a rat, to his tremendous vocal range, to his emotions portrayed. Just fine fine work.

As stated before, the film is based on the stage musical that ran in 1960 at West End and in 1962 on Broadway. And those stage musicals are based on the novel "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens which was given the Big Print 3 being Serialized, Hardcovered, & Paperbacked. The Stage Musical was then revived in 1984 on Broadway and in 1994 at West End, the 1994 revival had Jonathan Pryce as Fagin that time. It then had an Austrailia Tour in 2002 with John Waters (No, not that John Waters) as Fagin, a 2003 American Tour with Mark McCracken as Fagin, and a 2008 American Tour with Zach Levovitz as Fagin. Finally, in 2009 saw West End revive it once more with Rowin Atkinson as Fagin.

Overall a good film that I'm surprised I had no memory of previously. Best song by the way is "Reviewing the Situation"

Flickchart Rankings
Worldwide: 2197
Tack Angel: 289

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