1968 • Oliver!


Oliver! with an exclamation point

Wednesday night, Lauren and I continued our Best Picture project and came close to wrapping up the British musical-filled decade that was the 1960s with the viewing of Oliver!

This might have been the first movie on the entire list to this point that I’d actually seen before.  I think we had to watch it in grade school at some point.  We also sang a few of the songs in chorus as part of an Oliver! medley.  I distinctly remember riding the bus back from a band trip to the Black Hills in 1998 and everyone singing “Oom-pah-pah” in unison.

The movie starts out with the orphan children waiting in line for their gruel.  Oliver asks for some more and is banished to the streets where he is put up for sale.  After some mischievous behavior, he ends up in London where he goes to work for a grifter picking the pockets of the innocent.

I didn’t remember much of the plot of the movie.  In fact, I sort of remembered the whole thing taking place in the orphanage.  That scene was over and done with after ten minutes.  I also remembered this as being a wholesome children’s movie, probably because it had so many child actors, including Mark Lester, who at 19 quit show business and became a doctor of some sort.  But there were plenty of scenes of drunkenness and even murder.


Ron Moody, center

I’m getting kinda tired of musicals, especially foreign ones, but Oliver! had its moments of glory and the songs were all very catchy.  The acting of Ron Moody was top-notch, and he reminded me lots of what my good friend C. M. Walsh might look like in 40 years if he let himself go!  The sets were fairly realistic but reminded me more of My Fair Lady’s stage-looking set.

Not a lot else to say about this one.  I ranked it #24 on the list to this point.  A very decent movie that was helped along by excellent song and dance routines, but was quite long.

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