Oliver! – British Classics

Released in 1968, set in 1830s London and one of the most loved British musicals ever to grace the screens, this gem is always going to have a special place in cinematography.

Amongst one of the longer movies of the 20th Century, musical movies that is, and among the most popular, comes a tale of a young so called orphan, Oliver! Dragged from the workhouse for boys to the coffin filled rooms of the not so nice mortician, Oliver soon finds an escape after a dark start to the film, and makes his way to the big city, London!

One of the highlights of this movie is the set design. I really enjoy that because every set, dress costume and just aesthetic feel like the 1800’s, if I knew what it was like to be alive then. I praise the movies historical accuracy, especially one of the core themes, the difference between the rich and the poor. Oliver is soon embarking into the life of crime with Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and Fagin (Ron Moody), skillfully directed by Carol Reed. Of course, what crime life isn’t complete without a bad guy, true bad man Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) is one of modern films more harrowing villains.

All of this is accumulating rather quickly, Oliver is learning the ropes of pick pocketing. Only when a first job goes wrong, and he is being chased by police… soon in Magistrates… soon in the home of the very gentlemen he was accused of robbing. All of this is turning the tables, we expect this poor boy, an orphan will not fit in. In fact this act of kindness really helped us to empathize with Oliver more. He’s come a long way, and the trouble is still brewing. Bill Sikes don’t like the sound of Oliver living among the rich, especially since the risk of being grassed on is so high.

But we know that Oliver is good, enjoying his new life. A lot of song and dance really cast hope for him. Only later will we know that the rich gentlemens niece, by the miraculous miracle of movie magic, is Oliver’s mother. So it is claimed, the truth is that this is never proven. But hope can and will. You get into the film, really into each scene and I don’t like it when I know it will end, but it must.

Oliver has his final showdown with Bill Sikes. Fagin and the boys are just business criminals and nothing more or less, they never cared for Oliver. Of course, it takes the sacrifice of Sikes girlfriend Nancy to save Oliver from the clutches of the evil. But she does not succeed, instead meeting her demise at his hands. Such metaphorical and allegorical plays here, a movie within a movie. The good and evil battle rages on.

It’s a classic and it’s worth watching. A journey of struggle and reward. Much to be liked and much to be remembered. Did I mention set design? Choreography? Acting? Brilliant.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 stars, because it’s hard to find a movie like this anymore.

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