Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist is one of the least Polanski films ever made. It looks like a Polanski film for the most part, but the edge has been dulled: like the too spick and span streets in the Prague sets, there's no feeling that this film has been lived in. It's also curious how little impact almost any of the cast make aside from Leanne Rowe's Nancy or Edward Hardwicke's Mr Brownlow, but then with the exception of the chimney sweep none of them are given much of an introduction. Too many, like Ben Kingsley's underwhelming Fagin, are just discovered as part of a scene without any weight or emphasis. Even Bill Sykes is a figure of near disinterest, but then despite having the breeding (his father is a notorious London villain), Jamie Foreman has always lacked menace on screen. In fact, virtually none of them even get a single close-up, as Polanski contrives to avoid them almost entirely throughout the film. It's perfectly acceptable storytelling and Rachel Portman's score is pleasing, but it's a film that you watch, sometimes literally with its preponderance of mastershots, at a distance.
The film is very slightly cut (the UK censor's snipped a few seconds from Nancy's exit), but otherwise boasts a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.