December 30, 2011
Oliver! Movie Review
Grade 9 Drama A
The movie watched from November 18th to the 21st in Mr. Sheridan’s drama class was the 1968 musical, Oliver! This musical was freely adapted from the book “Oliver Twist” by Charles dickens, with screenplay written by Vernon Harris. The film was produced by John Woolf, directed by Carol Reed with music by Johnny Green, choreography by Onna White, and costumes by Phyllis Dalton. The talented cast was chosen by Jenia Reissar and consists of Ron Moody, playing the role of Fagan, Shani Wallis playing Nancy, Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes, Jack Wild as the clever Artful Dodger, Harry Secombe playing Mr. Bumble, Joseph O’Connor as Mr.Brownlowe, and of course, Mark Lester with the role of Oliver Twist. Together, these cast and crew member came together to create a musical that is known as the best film of 1968. Oliver! is set in the time period of the 1890’s in the country of England, and occurs in two places. The first is in the workhouse in Dunstable, and the second in the city of London. Oliver Twist is a young orphan boy whose mother died shortly after childbirth, leaving Oliver to live in a workhouse for orphans. The conditions in the workhouse are cruel, and children are not given adequate nutrition, so, upon losing a bet made with a few other boys, Oliver asks for more gruel, something that is totally unheard of in the Workhouse. Furious, Mr. Bumble takes Oliver out into the streets and sells him to an undertaker, who makes him the head of children’s funerals. Not long after, a fight occurs when another worker insults Oliver’s mother, and as a punishment, Oliver is locked in the basement, where he manages to escape through a window and begins making his way to London. When he eventually makes it to London, Oliver meets a local pick pocket named Jack Dawkins- more commonly known by the nick name the Artful Dodger- who offers him food and shelter in the house of his benefactor, Fagan; a criminal who trains orphans to become pick pockets for him, and in turn loves them and takes care of them. One day, while out in the streets with the Artful Dodger, Oliver is falsely accused of stealing a man’s wallet and he is brought to the courthouse where he is eventually proven innocent and is brought home with the man who accused him of stealing; Mr.Brownlowe, who later on in the movie is discovered to be Oliver’s uncle. Bill Sikes, a dangerous criminal and previous ‘student’ of Fagan becomes worried Oliver will tell Mr.Brownlowe about them, so he and his girlfriend, Nancy, kidnap Oliver and bring him back to Fagan’s. Filled with guilt, Nancy tells Mr. Brownlowe she will have Oliver at the London Bridge, and to meet them there, but when Bill discovers this news he becomes filled with rage and kills Nancy. An angry mob chases Bill and Oliver to Fagan’s house, and they all escape through a backdoor. While trying to escape, Bill gets shot and dies, and Oliver is taken to live with his uncle. A few sub plots from the musical Oliver! were the relationship between Bill Sikes and Nancy; how Bill was abusive to Nancy, but she still loves him and thinks she doesn’t deserve any better, Fagan’s past life and his “retirement fund” which he lost at the end of the movie, The story of Oliver’s parents, and the relationship between Mr. Bumble and his wife; the wife seems to rule the relationship, and has no problem turning against, or ratting out, her husband. In my opinion, the author’s message was to point out how badly the children were treated in that time period. The people who should be caring for them, such as the government and authority figures, neglect and treat the children cruelly, and those who one would not expect to care for children, the underbellies and criminals of society, are in fact those who care for them the most. How the author portrayed this message throughout the movie was in scenes such as the workhouse, where we see the children being put to physical...
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