(out of 5)

Preposterously loud and long adaptations of hit Broadway musicals were a staple of sixties films and, while this one threatens to be another soulless experience like My Fair Lady or The Music Manit is not, mainly thanks to the wise decision to hire a director of the caliber of Carol Reed to make it so much more.  Freely adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, it tells the tale of Oliver Twist (, his singing dubbed by musical director Johnny Green’s daughter), the unfortunate orphan who endures the cruelty of 1830s England, growing up in an orphanage before running away and becoming a member of a band of thieves in the capital city.  His tutelage as a pickpocket under shady Fagin (a star turn by ) and friendship with the charismatic Artful Dodger () is cut short when a kindly old man takes him home to raise him as his own.  The vengeful and greedy underworld villain Bill Sykes (, nephew to the director) is never far behind and has no compunctions about abusing his kindly mistress Nancy () to get the boy back in the slums.  Most of the beloved songs of the stage show are on display (if in some cases rearranged in the story), the best of them those sung by the golden-voiced Wallis, while Onna White’s choreography, which deservedly earned her an Honorary Oscar, brings a vital energy and organic strength to the musical scenes that doesn’t feel like the usual clockwork mechanics that musicals tend to display.  Elements of David Lean’s 1948 version are also liberally included, so much so that Lean was upset about this production and demanded an apology from Reed.


, 1968

Directed by Carol Reed

Screenplay by , based on the musical book by , freely adapted from the novel Oliver Twist by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:  , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Awards
Best Art Direction (art direction: John Box, Terence Marsh; set decoration: Vernon Dixon, Ken Muggleston)
Best Directing (Carol Reed)
Best Music (Score of a Musical Picture–original or adaptation) (adaptation score by John Green)
Best Picture (John Woolf, producer)
Best Sound (Shepperton Studio Sound Department)
Honorary Awards (Onna White, for her outstanding choreography achievement)

Best Actor (Ron Moody as “Fagin”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Wild as “The Artful Dodger”)
Best Cinematography (Oswald Morris)
Best Costume Design (Phyllis Dalton)
Best Film Editing (Ralph Kemplen)
Best Writing (Screenplay–based on material from another medium) (Vernon Harris)

Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical
Best Actor-Comedy or Musical (Ron Moody)

Best Director (Carol Reed)
Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith)
MOst Promising Newcomer-Male (Jack Wild)

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Film
Best Actor (Ron Moody)
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Direction (Carol Reed)
Best Film Editing
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles (Jack Wild)
Best Sound Track

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Carol Reed)

National Board of Review Award
Top Ten Films

New York Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Film
Best Director (Carol Reed)


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