Oliver! (1968).

still-of-oliver-reed,-ron-moody-and-shani-wallis-in-oliver!-(1968)-large-pictureMusical starring Mark Lester, Ron Moody and Oliver Reed. Based upon the Dickens novel Oliver Twist, the story is of a orphaned boy named Oliver (what else?) who becomes a pickpocket under the tutelage of the elderly mentor, Fagin, and his gang of young pickpockets.

I think I’ve had a lifelong love of this film. The CD soundtrack was one of the first CDs I ever brought and the songs have always been memorable. The book represents society’s hypocrisy and of course the musical still has the hypocrisy but dips between moments of darkness and light. The cinematography is good, and the acting good too. You really feel for the character motivations. More so than most musicals, anyway. One example I can think of is Nancy’s protectiveness towards Oliver.

The costumes are beautiful – even the clothes of the pickpockets and rogues are just so perfect (or imperfect?). The musical number Om-Pa-Pa pops with colour and fun despite its dark undercurrent and what immediately comes next.

The musical is also just so endearing, but shows the evident hypocrisy of the situation. For example, the orphans eat gruel and the orphanage governors dine on good food. Written at a time when such hypocrisy is rife, it is sad to think it still occurs today. Still a good film, though, and you will at some point be smiling goofily when watching it.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****

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