Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Oliver Twist


For years I have asked myself, why would someone want to make this story when the great David Lean did it perfectly in 1948? But Roman Polanski decided to do it, and I can’t say it’s bad. I have never read the book, but it seems both Lean and Polanski took some liberties about the ending. It looks good, suitably muddy and brown and nasty, the acting is good, especially Ben Kingsley as Fagin and Harry Eden as the Artful Dodger. But I have to say that I enjoyed the musical version, Oliver!, more than this. And the musical is pretty faithful, too, with a much better Bill Sykes in Oliver Reed, and a terrific Fagin in Ron Moody. Plus, it’s got great music. And once more I’m struck by the fact that Oliver himself is something of a wuss, tossed about by events, too stupid to know when he’s being set up. I mean, nine years in the fucking workhouse and he didn’t learn anything about crime and criminals? There’s not much going on in that little head.