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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on December 3, 2002
This may just be, sadly, the last great movie musical & what a knockout it is. Starting with the very first song, the stupendous Glorious Food number in the refectory at the orphanage, a bounty of gorgeously beautiful songs sung by an absolutely first-rate cast pours forth for over 2 1/2 hours. Harry Secombe & Ron Moody stand out in particular, the former (Goon) in gorgeous voice & the latter doing one of the most perfect Fagins I've ever seen, conveying craftiness & complexity worthy of Shylock while at the same time singing & dancing like a prince of vaudeville (or the music hall).
The dance numbers are fabulous, particularly relishable in this age of danceless musicals (save for the mechanical choreography of Broadway retreads). They are complex, imaginative, bursting with energy & totally integrated with the Dickensian plot & atmosphere, propelling the film along.
At no time is the plot subsumed by the music or dance, thanks, I imagine, to the titanic talents of Carol Reed (director of film masterpieces The Third man & Odd Man Out). Every element of this film works - as drama, as history, as musical - and above all, IT IS HUGELY ENTERTAINING!
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on May 18, 2002
This Musical Production is the GREATEST! After studying the musical a few years ago in my school music class I was enchanted into the amazing story. Since then I have watched the movie over 100 times. The movie was well casted although ther are some cliches. First of all my favorite character is Fagin portrayed by Ron Moody, he delivers a powerful performance as the great villan but is still likeable. Second Jack Wild who plays the Artful Dodger he is hilarious and has a great talent. My third favorite character is Nancy who is played by Shani Wallis, her voice is enchanting and yet extremly powerful. Mark Lester who plays OLIVER has some good points and some bad. First of all he is a good acter and portrays a great helpless soft, OLIVER although his voice is extremly weak and soft which brings down some numbers that could be great such as "Where is Love". My least favorite character would be Bill Sykes played by Oliver Reed. He delivers a powerful and frightening performance acting wise, but he could speak a little more clear. I mean you can only understand a few of his lines. Otherwise the performance is highly entertaining, loveable and quite funny. I you have never seen the show or this movie before take my advise and go out and purchase this I assure you of a wonderful time!
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on January 22, 2002
I bought this movie because I had some vague, but pleasant memories of it from my childhood. I must say that the movie did not disappoint. It is a well-crafted musical with vivid characters. While they're not exactly analogous to their Dickensian counterparts, who portray a much darker, seamier side of London's underworld, the characters sparkle. Ron Moody as Fagin is unforgettable, and Wild as the Dodger was a perfect casting job. The musical numbers are memorable, hum-inducing performances, such as "Consider Yourself" "Oom Pa Pa" "You got to Pick a Pocket or Two" and "Who Will Buy". My personal favorite is "Reviewing the Situation" because I feel the lyrics to that song are so well done and so well executed by Moody. The adorable Mark Lester is the weak link in an otherwise strong chain. He plays a passable Oliver, but lacks the oomph that the others bring to their roles, and his voice is somewhat airy but sweet (according to other reviewers, too sweet). Nevertheless, he fulfills his end of the bargin, portraying a rosy cheeked cherub in the presence of villains. Oliver Reed plays Sykes to perfection, exuding such dark evil that his sinister shadow precedes him onto the screen. I handled his killing of Nancy better as a grown-up; however, young children may find that scene as distrubing as I did twenty years ago. Overall, this is a finely done musical, and for me, was time well spent.
I think I'd better think it out again.
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on September 22, 2001
I really love this movie. i love the book and the play too. I think this movie is a good representation of the book, even though there are some things left out, like Oliver's sister and brother and Fagin's death. But this movie is a completely charming and memorable one. There are two musical numbers that could've been a little shorter, Who Will Buy and Consider Yourself, but Jack Wild was so good and lit up the creen that you hardly even notice Consider Yourself's length. Also, I've read reviwes that put down the acting of this movie--I thought that all of the leads were very, very good. Ron Moody and Jack Wild stood out the most, and Shanni Wallis and oliver Reed were both excellent. Mark Lester wasn't the best actor in the movie, but he didn't ruin it either. And keep in mind, he was only about 8 years old when it was filmed. Somebody called Mark Lester a brat because they thought he couldn't act. I thought that was unneccescary, but hey, decide for yourself. Check out this totally cool, chilling, heartwarming, and all around entertaining musical tragi-comedy. You will be glad you did!
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on November 12, 2000
I must say, I've never really been a fan of musicals perse, but four years ago, I caught this delightful film quite by accident on the Encore movie network, and have since changed my tune. I love movies, and I have always loved movies, but never before in my life have I got so much enjoyment out of watching one movie in my life, until I saw OLIVER! This is a musicalization of the Charles Dickens classic 'Oliver Twist' about a young boy who flees his drab life of workhouse servitude and falls in with a band of pickpockets led by the incorrigible Fagin(Ron Moody, Oscar-nominated). Mark Lester is absolutely magnificent in the title role. Jack Wild is equally winning as his slick sidekick, The Artful Dodger. In fact, Lester and Wild worked together so well in this film that they were reunited for the popular 1971 British release, MELODY. Oliver Reed is appropriately menacing as the brutish Bill Sykes, and Shani Wallis is lovely as his girlfriend, Nancy. The film was directed by Oliver Reed's uncle, Sir Carol Reed. Some might believe that this film pales in comparison to David Lean's more straightforward 1948 filmization. But there is little room for debate that Carol Reed's version is the more entertaining of the duo. OLIVER! is the last of the truly great movie musicals. It's easy to watch over and over again, and it's the type of film that looks better with every viewing. Thanks to the flawless quality of the 30th anniversary edition, the film looks better than ever! Required viewing for the classic movie lover.
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on October 19, 2000
I must say, I've never really been a big fan of musicals perse, but four years ago, I caught this delightful rendition of the Charles Dickens classic on the ENCORE movie network and I instantly changed my tune. I love movies, and I have always loved movies, but I never got so much enjoyment out of watching a film in my life until I saw OLIVER!. It's "freely" adapted from the Dickens novel, and there's the inclusion of song and dance, but the film still manages to stay fairly close to its source, and the entire production is successful at capturing the mood of 19th-century England, and the spirit of Dickens' original novel is alive throughout. Those not familiar with the story, OLIVER is the tale of a little orphan boy whose life has been nothing but workhouse servitude. When he finally escapes from his turbulent and unhappy life, he falls in with a band of young thieves led by the incorrigible Fagin(Ron Moody, Oscar-nominated). British child actor Mark Lester is appealing and absolutely adorable in the title role. Jack Wild(Oscar-nominated) is equally winning as his slick sidekick, The Artful Dodger. In fact, Lester and Wild worked so well together in the film that they went on to appear together in the popular 1971 release MELODY. Oliver Reed is appropriately menacing as the brutish Bill Sykes. The film was directed by Reed's uncle, Carol Reed. Some might say this film compares in comparison to David Lean's straight-faced 1948 filmization of the Dickens classic. That version of the story is also a confirmed classic, but it's not nearly as much fun as this one. If you're a parent and want to introduce your children to the classics, this film is the way to do it!
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on April 26, 2000
With top-notch production values, a wonderfully engaging score, performances that fit the bill to perfection, and many, many extras, such as Onna White's fabulously inventive choreography, this gigantic screen musical is a classic for the ages. Perhaps the best and most enthusiastically rendered vision of Charles Dickens' specific vision of working class London, this movie literally teems with life, and paints a vivid, emotional portrait of a scraggly band of petty thieves and crooks; magically, the musical numbers not only provide a nice counter-balance to the mounting brutality of the main story, but expand on it as well. Shani Wallis and Oliver Reed are pitch-perfect, and surprisingly intense, as the corrupt and doomed low-life couple who use Oliver as a means to their own selfish ends. Mark Lester is a wondrous child actor, without a hint of self-awareness, and a sweetly tiny soprano voice that can bring tears to your eyes. Carol Reed's enormous skill as a director has never been better showcased than in his seemingly effortless coordination of scenes both small and impossibly huge, as in the Who Will Buy? musical number, a wondrous combo of precise choreography, soaring melody and layer upon layer of visual joy. This movie is an exceptional first taste of musical theatre/movies for children, though be warned: the movie does not shy from the more violent passages in Dickens' tale, and the spooky underbelly of life as a petty criminal is scary when you hear Bill Sykes whistle for his pit bull in the back alleys.
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on March 4, 2000
The Magic of DVD technology makes Oliver! an incredible new experience. I've seen Oliver! on TV and video more than a dozen times, but this re-mastered digital verson of a 1960s movie brings the movie back to the way it must have been first seen in theaters--quite possibly even better! The colors are rich, the clarity amazingly sharp, and the letterbox version exposes so many things off to the far sides of the screen that have never been seen since its theatrical premier. The dance numbers are particularly great with the letterbox version, as the pan and scan version cuts off many cast members during the bigger production numbers. This movie is a grand entertainment that will be cherished forever by musical lovers and those with a pashion for Dickens and for the human heart. And now that it is available on DVD, it just got a whole lot better. Truly one of the best experiences I've had at the movies, and with digital TV. It's a dramatic music with tunes that you'll be humming for weeks and characters you'll never forget. The songs complement and move the story forward in almost every sequence; It's extremely well done.
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on March 23, 2000
There is something odd about the passing away of two of the main stars of this epic within months of each other, Oliver Reed and Oliver Bart. For me the music is at the core of the film and there can be no doubt that Oliver Bart was a genius at creating the kind of songs you just can't help but get hooked by. All of the performances are remarkable and are in part a great credit to Olver Reed's uncle Sir Carol Reed who directed it superbly. The essence of the film inmy mind is captured superbly by the arrival of Bill Sykes(Reed) at the local tavern late at night. His shadow in approach engulfs the mind as the music raises the odds. Reeds perforamnce (both of them) along with Ron Moody are the key reasons this film hits its mark, along with the fabulous music score... I am sure that Oliver, Carol and Oliver are having a beer in the big pub in the sky as you read this mulling over old memorys. Definately a film that I will be watching 30, 40, 50, years from now!
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on August 28, 2002
Ahhh Robin Hood...what a crook...gave away...what he took,
Charity's fine subscribe to've got to pick a pocket or two.
Now I know you were mentally singing that as you read it...good ain't it though. For all those little bleeders out there who point blank refuse to grow up and become 'respekible'...there must be someone who will buy.
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