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Oliver Twist -- Special Edition [DVD] [1948]

Robert Newton , Alec Guinness , David Lean    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
Price: 19.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Oliver Twist -- Special Edition [DVD] [1948] + Great Expectations [DVD]
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  • Great Expectations [DVD] 4.10

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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Newton, Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Francis L. Sullivan, Henry Stephenson
  • Directors: David Lean
  • Writers: Kay Walsh, David Lean, Charles Dickens, Eric Ambler, Stanley Haynes
  • Producers: Ronald Neame
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, PAL, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Carlton
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sep 2008
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NFDP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,848 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



An astonishingly good David Lean double-bill featuring his two Dickensian adaptations, Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), this is a reminder that cinema does not necessarily have to debase its literary sources, sometimes it can enhance them. Lean's painterly eye for evocative locations--be they windswept marshes or bustling London streets--provides the backdrop, but his focus on smaller details--the ominous tree in the graveyard with its almost human face, the reaction of Bill Sikes' dog to Nancy's murder--adds the vital ingredient that brings both place and character to life.

Starring a youthful John Mills as Pip, Lean's Great Expectations is an unadulterated delight, a serendipitous gelling of screenplay, direction, cinematography and acting that produces an almost perfect film. The cast is exemplary, with Alec Guinness in his first (official) role as Pip's loyal pal Herbert Pocket; Martita Hunt is a cadaverous Miss Havisham; Finlay Currie transforms himself from truly threatening to entirely sympathetic as Magwitch; while the young Jean Simmons makes more of an impact as the girl Estella than Valerie Hobson does as the older incarnation. Perhaps best of all, though, is Francis Sullivan as the pragmatic but kindly attorney Jaggers.

The cinematography alone (courtesy of Guy Green) would qualify Oliver Twist as a classic: the opening sequence of a lone woman struggling through the storm is an indelible cinematic image. Fortunately, Lean's film has many more aces up its sleeve thereafter, notably Alec Guinness' grotesque Fagin--a caricature certainly, but a three-dimensional one--and Robert Newton's utterly pitiless Bill Sikes. The skewed angles and unsettling chiaroscuro lighting transform London itself into another threatening character. --Mark Walker

Product Description

David Lean's classic adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel. Oliver (John Howard Davis) is a young orphan boy who is expelled from the workhouse run by Mr Bumble (Francis L. Sullivan). After becoming an apprentice to an undertaker Oliver decides to run away to London, only to meet the Artful Dodger (Anthony Newley) and fall amongst his gang of thieves, led by the scheming Fagin (Alec Guinness).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard hitting and faithful adaptation 27 Feb 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was stunned by just how powerful this film is - from the opening scene of Oliver's mother on the moor, to the final struggle on the roof, I was amazed at what an impact it had on me. Like most people, I suspect, I was already familiar with the plot and events, having read the book several times as well as watching various other adaptations, but even so, the way they were presented here was if I was seeing them for the very first time.

Nancy's death was shown in a way that really made me grimace, despite not actually seeing any of the violence - and therein lies the genius of David Lean. It's not what you see, but what you don't.

The restored version of the film is simply stunning too - so clean and sharp, and the extras are a real eye opener too.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic adaptation 16 Jun 2008
By Room For A View VINE VOICE
Dickens' tale of workhouse dehumanisation, middle-class arrogance, urban poverty, street crime and domestic violence balanced against moments of extreme tenderness and altruistic warmth is superbly conveyed in Lean's monumental cinema adaptation. Although significant parts of the novel are missing, such as the events occurring during Oliver's walk to London and his involvement in a botched house robbery in Chertsey, the overall impression is one of an enormous sensitivity to Dickens's work, particularly the characterisation - the fragile, victimised Oliver, the monstrous but likeable Fagin, the harrowing Bill Sykes and his wonderful dog Bulls eye. I recommend a look at Cruikshank's drawings which accompanied the novel - the likenesses to the actors in the film is remarkable. Cinematic moments of genius include the opening sequence with Oliver's mother, the snuffed out street lamp after Nancy's murder and Bulls eye's betrayal of his master. The foreshortened sets depicting the squalor and claustrophobia of early nineteenth-century working-class London are incredibly realistic. And to think this was all filmed in a studio lot at Pinewood! For me this is the best Oliver Twist on celluloid - I only wish David Lean had the time and money to make a much longer film and include all the bits of the novel that are missing.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Most definately the best adaptation of Dickens' novel. The opening sequence builds up a great sense of horror and drama which keeps you on the edge of your seat. Frances Sullivan is wonderful at playing the cruel but comical beadle. He and Mrs Mann are a great contrast to each other and make a great double act on screen. Perhaps the best and most memorable actor from this film is the wonderful Sir Alec Guiness who is so convincing as the roguish but kind Fagin - and who would guess that Sir Alec was only 22 at the time of playing the character! Robert Newton is also convincing as the horribly cruel Bill Sykes - he livens up the screen with his cruel ways and bad manners and scares the life out of the viewer with the horrifying murder of Nancy. Right up until he dies he holds the screen in the palm of his hands and never fails to frighten or shock the viewer. Of course I must credit John Howard Davies who played the orphan Oliver brilliantly and held you, the viewer in the palm of his hands. One thing that has made the film so successful is the ammount of research the director has put into the film, the sets are magnificent and very believable for its day. Even down to the coffin snuff box of Mr Sowerberry - every prop is true to the story and makes the film all the more believable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist -- Special Edition [DVD] [1948] 28 Jan 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
this 1948 version of Oliver Twist is 1 The Best-Looking B&W Movie Ever
a great version of oliver Twist
.staring Robert Newton . Alec Guinness. John Howard Davies.
dvd info
oliver Twist 1948 .with subtiles. on / off
.extras on this dvd
23min 44 sec Documentary profile of oliver twist
Oliver Twist - Theatrical Trailer 1948
Stills Gallery (Behind the scenes)with music
Biographies of Alec Guinness.John Howard Davies.Kay walsh.Robert Newton.
Sir David Lean.
posters and production Drawings .too view from this DVD
all of this is on the.Oliver Twist -- Special Edition [DVD] [1948]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Rather hard to award less than five stars for this wonderful adaptation. These notes are NOT for the double disc edition with Great Expectations bundled into a two film set, it's for the Special Edition of O.Twist.

As usual Amazon's delivery time was examplary. A side issue perhaps but it does contribute to the buying experience.

I read the book many years ago and have the musical version, which runs the story a little simplified compared to this one, which incorporates the Monks/Fagin sub plot. From memory this is a pretty faithful rendering of Dickens' novel, although the screenplay's slightly skinny here and there when one remembers the genius of Dickens' dialogue.

The cast was pretty good overall, with only occasional bursts of overacting from Kay Walsh and Robert Newton who it seems was rather pickled for much of the production and sometimes had to be sent home after lunchtime's imbibings. I felt a little disappointed in the depth given to Sykes by Newton and didn't feel he warranted his top billing. For me, that honour should have been Alec Guiness's. The man's a genius. His Fagin set the standard that for me was approached but not surpassed by Ron Moody's from the musical. This Fagin is far darker and more thoroughly evil that was Moody's.

Oliver was played by an unknown waif who was the son of a pair of screenwriters, and did a pretty decent job, although his posh accent is desperately hard to credit when the film tells us he's been raised in a workhouse beside the detritus of society of the period. The film doesn't say where the workhouse was, only that it's seven days on the road for Oliver when walking to London to escape his earlier life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a Christmas present for my niece
Published 2 days ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this story Jack Dawkins the artful dodger has been ...
I love this story Jack Dawkins the artful dodger has been a favourite of mine for what seems like forever this film does the book justice dark like the book started as though the... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Lisa Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best.
Published 7 days ago by john lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars Great nostalgia
Great nostalgia This is in my opinion the best movie of Oliver Twist
Went to cinema with beautiful girl view this production Girl No Go still nostalgic
Published 1 month ago by E. F. Holloway
5.0 out of 5 stars OK
A present so as it has not been reported back to me about its quality, I cant really say, but I'm sure it is brilliant
Published 4 months ago by Ian Whetton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Good old classic film arrived on time and when it did watched it with our grandchildren they loved it a such as us
Published 6 months ago by Sandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This is by far the best version of Oliver Twist ever made. A great performance by Elija wood as the artful Dodger, would recommend
Published 6 months ago by Peter C. Chiverton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic
Arrived on time in perfect condition.
Lovely restoration of this great classic movie. Wonderful cast. My favorite is Anthony Newley's Artful Dodger. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Music Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This version is just superb. Superb. Darker - far more real.
The set is brilliant - very impressive for its time. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ms. kit nader
5.0 out of 5 stars dickens
a classic, all time great, another fine oldie that everyone must read ,even though the story is history it still holds good
Published 8 months ago by DAVID & SHEILA GIBBONS
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