This $10 million pic is a bright, shiny, heartwarming musical, packed with songs and lively production highspots. Lionel Bart's [1960] stage musical hit is adroitly opened out by director Carol Reed.

This $10 million pic is a bright, shiny, heartwarming musical, packed with songs and lively production highspots. Lionel Bart’s [1960] stage musical hit is adroitly opened out by director Carol Reed.

Oliver! goes with a cheerful swing, leading up to a strong dramatic climax when Bill Sikes gets his comeuppance. Mark Lester, as the workhouse waif who finds happiness after a basinful of scary adventures, is a frail Oliver, with a tremulous, piping singing voice, but he’s vigorous and mischievous enough, and is sufficiently dewy-eyed and angelic to captivate the audience.

The youngsters are natural scene-stealers but major honors go to a diminutive 15-year-old, Jack Wild, who plays the Artful Dodger with knowing cunning and impudent self-confidence.

Ron Moody’s Fagin lacks some of the malignance usually associated with the role of the wily old rascal though he shows sudden flashes of evil temper. He riotously squeezes every morsel of fun out of his tuition scenes with the little pickpockets.

Bart’s familiar songs, such as ‘Food, Glorious Food,’ ‘Consider Yourself,’ ‘I’d Do Anything’ and ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’ are as fresh as ever.

1968: Best Picture, Director, Art Direction, Sound, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Honorary Award (Onna White, for choreography).

Nominations: Best Actor (Ron Moody), Supp. Actor (Jack Wild), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing

Oliver!

UK

Production

Columbia/Romulus. Director Carol Reed; Producer John Woolf; Screenplay Vernon Harris; Camera Oswald Morris; Editor Ralph Kemplen; Music Johnny Green (dir.); Art Director John Box

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1968. Running time: 140 MIN.

With

Ron Moody Shani Wallis Oliver Reed Harry Secombe Mark Lester Jack Wild
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