Oliver! (1968)

Last summer, I watched what I thought was the worse musical of my life, Into the Woods. That film didn’t stay at the top of the list for long because there’s a new champion: Oliver!. 

The majority of the world is familiar with the story of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Some of you may even be familiar with the stage play Oliver!. I was only aware of Dickens’ book and had no clue there was a play that got turned into a film that would go on to win the Best Picture award in 1964. 

I can’t sugarcoat how I feel, so when I say this was a terrible movie, that’s the best way I can say it in print. I hated everything about this movie, with the majority of my dislike centred around the songs. They were god awful to listen to; however, I can not knock the overall choreography and production.

Oliver! took home six Oscars that year because it was quite the project. The stages were gigantic and were always filled with dozens of extras who belted out and danced through every number. I applaud their efforts because such a massive production requires a lot of practice to get it right for the perfect take. 

Regarding the rest of the story, which I can’t say I remember Oliver Twist all that much, it is all about London’s dirty streets and orphaned kids whose only purpose in life is to be pickpockets. Somehow Oliver becomes a target and is kidnapped, which shifts the movie’s direction and pushes it towards the finale when Oliver is rescued. 

I’ve seen many musicals before, some I love and some I don’t. Oliver! took an intriguing story about a boy and turned it into this mess of a motion picture. This was not a kid’s film because of the murders and shady characters, yet I didn’t feel invested as an adult either. 

As I pointed out earlier, I can see why this film was so successful with critics. For me, as an amateur film critic who had to waste two hours and thirty-three minutes of his life watching this to write a review, I can say that it wasn’t my cup of tea. Sorry to offend those who love it but let this just be a warning for those who wondered if this was for them or not. 3/10


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