Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
The Passionate Friends were in love when young, but separated, and she married an older man. Then Mary Justin (Ann Todd) meets Steven Stratton (Trevor Howard) again and they have one last ... See full summary »
Charles (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings), are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.
Based on the Charles Dickens novel, this movie is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket and he joins a household of young boys who are trained to steal for their master. This version of Oliver Twist is topped by Sir Alec Guinness' masterly performance of archthug Fagin.Written by
Jenny Evans <J.Evans@uts.edu.au>
The end credits misspell Bill Sikes' name as 'Sykes'. See more »
Clever dogs, clever dogs. Never blowed on old Fagin.
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The film did not premiere in the U.S. until 1951, after ten minutes of footage involving Alec Guinness as Fagin had been cut, due to Jewish pressure groups who claimed that Guinness's portrayal was offensive and anti-Semitic. See more »
Robert Newton as Bill Sykes and Sir Alec Guinness as Fagan-two of the best actors ever in their greatest roles!
David Lean knew how to capture the essence of Dickension London pitch-perfectly.
Robert Newton gives the finest performance of his life as Bill Sykes, the murderous thief who uses Alec Guinness' Fagan as his fence. The two men have an uneasy relationship that comes apart toward the end of the film. As actors, Newton and Guinness have a chemistry and an acting partnership that is superb. I have rarely seen two actors so perfectly matched in any film. I only wish they had done other films together.
Sykes has a girlfriend, Nancy, who is loyal to the point of death. The murder scene and the scene that follows are brilliant. There is Sykes, drunk and paranoid accusing his only love of betraying him. She pleads for her life in vain. The next scene is oddly quiet. Sykes in a chair contemplating the body with early morning light streaming through a filthy window onto the body. Newton's portrait of Sykes, the man who killed the thing he loved most in the world- the guilt and remorse that flutter across his face are wrenching. That silent scene will stay with me forever.
There was a great deal of controversy over Guinness's portrait of Fagan. His explanation of himself to Oliver, "They say I am a miser..." is chilling and pathetic at the same time. In this early film of Sir Alec's you see his genius for characterization. Guinness played Fagan as a Jew with a distrust and a hatred of humanity that is hard to top.
Director Lean assembled the finest actors in England at the time for his Oliver Twist. He created a seamless story that was a classic the moment it was released. David Lean's Oliver Twist is still the BEST adaptation of ANY Dickens story on film.
Special praise goes to the film score, which has been recorded many times and has entered the classical music rep. as incidental music. The Oliver Theme and the Fagan theme are instantly recognizable.
A MUST SEE!
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