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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic adaptation
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...
Published on 16 Jun. 2008 by Room for a View

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Blu-Ray Quality
The star rating applies solely to the film restoration and not to the film which is far and away the best version of Oliver Twist. David Lean was certainly a master film-maker. Sadly the blu-ray version although sharp and showing good detail is not the best restoration or blu-ray transfer of it's era. There are numerous white running-scratches throughout the print and a...
Published 2 months ago by Mr R. V. Curtis


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic adaptation, 16 Jun. 2008
By 
Room for a View - See all my reviews
(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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard hitting and faithful adaptation, 27 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Oliver Twist [DVD] (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So atmospheric you can almost smell London in the 1800s, 4 Feb. 2012
By 
Kilrymont (Somewhere in Scotland) - See all my reviews
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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. Then when arriving in London, Fagin doesn't recognise this moneyed accent either or else he'd have made efforts to get a reward for returning Oliver to his family (before Monks shows up, that is)

But that's scraping the barrel for criticism. The film is real eye candy for anyone with an appreciation of classy productions and the work of a brilliant director at the top of his game. Lean's rep doesn't need any more praise, it's all been said many times before.

London as depicted here is a maelstrom of unwashed humanity where poverty of the sort only seen in third world countries these days was rife, and street life was dangerous in the extreme. As such, London's portrayal is also a masterpiece and probably worthy of an award all to itself.

This is one to watch, and watch again..
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgetable story of love, cruelty and comedy., 2 Jun. 2001
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 9 Jan. 2012
By 
Mr. G. Robinson "garyrobinson15" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
David Leans follow up to the highly regarded Great Expectations was this wonderful adaptation of Dicken's most popular novel Oliver Twist. Like my review on Great Expectations I will not bore you with the story you already know but keep my observations to the film itself.

Again shot in glorious black and white and in 4-3 aspect ratio this film, in cinematic terms, probably eclipses Great Expectations. Alec Guinnesses portrayal of the mercurial Fagin set the template for all subsequent actors to follow and most if not all have done so. So imbued in the cinematic psyche is this portrayal of Fagin that most people recognise the character if not the film or even the book. Robert Newton also set the bar high in his portrayal of Bill Sykes. Although Bill and Fagin are important characters it is Oliver himself that the audience have to believe in, if they don't the whole film will fail, John Howard Davis who took on the role is perfectly cast and we accept him as Oliver without a second glance.

As you would expect the direction from Lean is first class, the production is handsomely staged and looks gorgeous, the recreation of a grimey and dangerous Dickensian London is impessive considering the war had only been over for three years and rationing was still in very much in place.

If you a Dickens or a Lean fan then you probably already own this fantasic film, if not however and you fancy a slice of proper filmaking then you could do a lot worse. The 2005 Roman Polanski version for example,
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist -- Special Edition [DVD] [1948], 28 Jan. 2010
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Blu-Ray Quality, 1 Feb. 2015
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The star rating applies solely to the film restoration and not to the film which is far and away the best version of Oliver Twist. David Lean was certainly a master film-maker. Sadly the blu-ray version although sharp and showing good detail is not the best restoration or blu-ray transfer of it's era. There are numerous white running-scratches throughout the print and a somewhat dusty and popping optical soundtrack. My Super 8mm full-length feature was probably just as good if not better than this blu-ray edition. A wonderful film let-down by a poor HD blu-ray transfer. To see how a blu-ray transfer from a similar period should be done, I recommend Mrs. Miniver. One of David Lean's masterpieces has been short-changed here!
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a Life to Come, 24 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Oliver Twist [DVD] (DVD)
Much of this film is 'great' particularly the photography and the narrative swiftness. The spirit if not the detail of the novel survives particularly in the sets of workhouse and thieves' den. Surprisingly brutal at times with affecting performances by Robert Newton and Kay Walsh. John Howard Davies is brilliantly natural apart from the impossibly cut glarce accent given where he grows up. There will always be a problem with Fagin but Guinness brings some pathos to it. The biggest puzzle is the ending where Oliver seems destined for a cold, isolated, anodyne future in the upper-middle class coincidence-prison his mother escaped. A pretty frightening ending given the carnival-of-life that's one before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful adaptation, 19 Sept. 2008
By 
Mr. Daniel A. Hunter (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a masterclass in filmmaking from a number of angles - the cinematography is just beautiful, the adaptation feels fresh and lacks the jolts many book to film screenplays have and finally the acting is superb.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist, 21 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Oliver Twist [DVD] (DVD)
This was the first film that my Uncle took me to see when I was almost 8 years old in 1948 and it so impressed me at the time that I continued to read all of Dickens books from that period on and it may well have had a considerable impact on my political views and activities over many years.

The film was just as I remembered it from such an early age and still continue to be impressed by it's quality of production, direction, scenery and the superb acting skills of the cast particularly Robert Newton, Alec Guiness, John Howard Davies, Anthony Newley, Kay Walsh with the rest of the cast including bullseye.

Well worth the price.
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Oliver Twist [DVD]
Oliver Twist [DVD] by John Howard Davies (DVD - 2008)
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