18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Open to debate,
This review is from: Oliver Twist (BBC)  [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a bit late with these comments because I've only just seen this version of "Oliver Twist" on TV. I will not be buying the DVD even though Amazon have already reduced the price by 75%, which seems to reflect a need to clear the stock.
I found the changes from the original story to be somewhat problematic.
Fagin and the boys keep calling Oliver "Nolly". This is grating. Dickens used that nickname only three or four times in the novel.
Rose sings "Abide with me". The novel was finally published in 1839. The music for the poem, making it a hymn, wasn't published until 1861.
The dialogue is an uncomfortable mix of mid-19th century street talk and early 21st century slang.
Nancy is described by Dickens as "stout and hearty", not as of mixed race and skinny.
Timothy Spall, as others have commented, turns Fagin into a less-than-believable caricature but he does use the right accent and turns of phrase to suit his character. His costume is extraordinary, but perhaps it would be deemed anti-Semitic to portray him in the same way as he is drawn by Cruikshank in the original novel.
Edward Fox was, for me, the greatest disappointment in a rather two-dimensional portrayal of Mr Brownlow.
William Miller, a photogenic boy with a face to tug the heart-strings, had been coached to play a more resilient Oliver but he seemed to finish up without much feeling at all.
The background music is jarring and distracting.
Some of the sets seem to have been borrowed from an earlier film version of the story.
On the other hand, I have no disrespect for people who enjoyed it. The photography and lighting are very good. The essence of the story is still there. It's good entertainment. So I'm not arguing -- just pointing out that it's less than perfect.
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Initial post: 6 Oct 2011 06:57:46 BDT
You say nothing of the performances. I thought they were exceptional. The imaginative ending for Sykes and Nancy was clever and made the characters more sympathetic.
I think you must remember an adaptation is not supposed to imitate the original. Adaptations are creative re-workings in their own right. I loved this one. Five stars.
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