Film Quest Alert: ‘Oliver!’

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on December 11th, 2012 by Nick

Musicals aren’t my favorite type of movie, but this stop on my Watch-Every-Best Picture-Film-or-Die-Trying quest was a quite satisfying one! Based on the original British play of the same name (which was based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens), the film version of Oliver! was directed by Carol Reed, released in 1968, and housed the Oscars, taking prizes for Best Picture, Best Adaptation Score, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, and even won a much-deserved Special Academy Award for Cinematography. Word, holla.

The bummer: my favorite two characters/actors from the film were nominated for Best Actor (Ron Moody) and Best Supporting Actor (Jack Wild)….and they both lost! That is nucking futs! Moody gave a rousing, if not, completely zany performance as Fagin, a sketchy thief who teaches kids to “Pick a Pocket or Two,” while Wild (formerly known from the Sid and Marty Krofft psychedelic kids show H.R. Pufnstuf) was dashing and quick-footed as Fagin’s eventual partner-in-crime, the Artful Dodger. Watching these two sing, dance, and gallivant about was certainly the highlight for this blogger, while I found Mark Lester (leading boy, Oliver) to be a little…magoo.

Having said that, I enjoyed the folly and jolly that Oliver! delivered, although it wasn’t my favorite musical. I was later asked by my co-pilot on this magic carpet ride what my favorite musical was, to which I replied “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” of course (clearly the answer for a straight, white, male geek). However, I was quickly informed that for some reason, that didn’t count. I was then told that if I didn’t have a favorite musical, I couldn’t claim that Oliver! was not my favorite musical. This went on for a good twenty minutes, because this is what happens when you watch musicals with a lady who arguably loves musicals more than she loves you.

Despite a fairly hefty runtime (153 minutes) and a couple numbers that didn’t progress the story enough, I knocked this one out in one sitting and by movie’s end, I was glad to have seen it.

Grade: B

Here are my two favorite songs from the play-turned-film:

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