Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Oliver! (1968)

OliverStarring Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis & Oliver Reed

Rating 8/10

I wasn’t sure about this one. Was it going to be another West Side Story? I was prepared for disappointment. But, to my surprise, Oliver was a joy! Yay!

The hardest thing about this film is the way the kids are treated. As a mum, this is always going to be difficult to watch. But there are so many songs, so much humour that you can’t help but love this film.

Oliver (Lester) the boy is an orphan. He lives in a workhouse filled with other orphans and a whole load of gruel. Poor little Oliver gets sold to an undertaker but runs away when the other kids in the house dis his dead ma. The little man trudges through snow and mud to get to London where he’s sure he’ll find a better life.

Then he meets the Artful Dodger (Wild) who convinces him that the kindly Fagin (Moody) is going to look after him, kinda like the dad he never had. Oliver finds himself in a fun but dirty and immoral world where pockets are picked, willy-nilly, and the dreaded Bill Sikes (Reed) rules. Fagin is a loveable villain. He battles selfishness and responsibility to the boys.

Oliver is saved by a kindly rich gentleman who initially accuses him of stealing. But things get ugly when Sikes thinks Ollie will dob him into the police and so they nab him back, taking him away from his true family. Nancy (Wallis) is Sikes’ girl, a true lady at heart and she finally finds it in herself to stand up to her truly scary lover boy and attempts to return Oliver to the rich gentleman.

This is a beautifully crafted film. The songs are incredible. The choreography is as big as the sets. It is a tense ride, a heart wrenching journey into the bowels of the London underground. Wallis is a star. Her singing and characterisation is inspirational. Lester is great too although his singing voice could have been stronger but what a darn cutie pie. And don’t get me started about Oliver Reed. Even Lester said that everyone on set was terrified of him, for real!

So, consider yourself one of the family and find out where is love by picking a pocket or two while finding out who will buy this beautiful morning for as long as he needs me I’ll sing Oom-Pah-Pah.  And then we can sit down and review the situation by eating some food glorious food!

In other words, check out this incredible film. One that truly deserves the Best Picture Oscar it won!

Oliver! Trivia:

  • Budget – $10 million
  • You know Oliver! is based on the novel by Charles Dickens, don’t you? Good. Just checking.
  • Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were rumoured to play Bill Sikes and Nancy.
  • The snow scenes were filmed in summer, so the snowballs had to be made of salt, polystyrene, crazy foam and mashed potatoes. Fun, fun, fun!
  • A girl, a girl dubbed Mark Lester’s singing! That explains it all. Apparently Lester couldn’t sing to save himself and they chose a girl to dub him as it suited his look more than a boy voice. Go figure.
  • Dick Van Dyke, Peter O’Toole and Peter Sellers were tipped to play Fagin.
  • The song ‘Who will buy’ took 6 weeks to film and ‘Consider Yourself’ took 3 weeks.
  • Before shooting began, the entire cast rehearsed for 6 months.
What a ride. That is our last musical winner for a while. So put away your Karaoke set and get ready for some meaty films. The next one we’re looking at is Midnight Cowboy starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.

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This entry was posted on July 28, 2011 by in Best Picture Films and tagged , , , .
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