The infant Oliver Twist’s mother dies in a workhouse at childbirth, and the chambermaid steals her wedding ring on discovering her corpse. His leads the doctor to presume that she was a tramp;thereby sealing the course the boy’s life is to take. Oliver (Dickie Moore) is adopted by the long-winded orphanage keeper Bumble (Lionel Belmore) and taken to the local workhouse when he is nine. Subjected to starvation, backbreaking work and a bunch of cruel, pompous authority figures, he makes a break for it and heads for London. He is picked up by the shady Artful Dodger (Sonny Ray) and taken to the establishment of Fagin (Irving Pichel) - a school for pickpockets. His training soon begins under the auspices of the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates (George Nash) , but he is nabbed on his very first venture. As Fate would have it, his victim is the rich, compassionate Mr. Brownlow (Alec B. Francis) who takes him under his wing, but Oliver is recaptured by Fagin’s men while on an errand for Mr. Brownlow. However, Nancy Sikes (Doris Lloyd) from Fagin’s fold reports the entire matter to Mr. Brownlow’s lovely niece Rose Maylie (Barbara Kent) and establishes contact with them. In the meanwhile, Oliver is being shanghaied into some serious criminal activities by Nancy’s unscrupulous, drunken husband Bill Sikes (W.M. Boyd) . The courageous young boy’s future seems sealed - but Providence works in mysterious ways...
Can a penniless nine-year-old prevail against the collective forces of a ruthlessly opportunistic society, to emerge with true friends...and with dignity? With his incomparable storytelling skills, Charles Dickens tells a tale of ageless appeal.
Born in New York on December 21, 1886, William J. Cowen was a highly decorated military personage before he turned to writing and film direction. He penned some immensely successful scripts such as Good Girl Go to Paris (1939) and Blind Alibi (1938). It is probably because of his own acquaintance with hardship that he was able to give his classic 1933 feature film Oliver Twist such compassionate and insightful treatment. His other notable directorial offerings include Woman Unafraid (1934), The Big Beat 1958) and Kongo (1932). He died in England on January 16, 1964. Running Time: 80 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
From his birth in an English workhouse, the course of Oliver Twist’s life is being dictated by greedy, overbearing people. His mother dies at childbirth and young Oliver finds himself scrubbing floors in yet another workhouse. But Fate has other plans for the plucky lad. He runs away to London to find a new life, only to be coaxed into joining Fagin’s den of thieves, to be trained as a pickpocket by the twitchy Artful Dodger.
In quick succession, Oliver then lands up under the care of compassionate nobleman Mr. Brownlow and back amongst Fagin’s motley gang of delinquents. The boy may be out of luck, but he’s got three priceless assets - his innocence, resilience and indomitable spirit.
As with many of Charles Dickens’ memorable novels (for instance David Copperfield) , the story of Oliver Twist is more than a little autobiographic and reflects the author’s own recollections of an incredibly tough and deprived childhood in England.
"I guess most of us have read some version or the other of Oliver Twist in high school - but that won’t prepare you for the raw pathos and display of courage in this fascinating feature film (Oliver Twist) from A2ZCDS. Dickie Moore brings the key character to breathing, bleeding life and I couldn’t stop myself from hating his antagonists. This vintage movie is totally enchanting. I will not forget it."
Brendan E. McAuliffe (South Portland, Maine)
"Shed a tear for true hardship, folks. Oliver Twist is a story of endless courage without the loss of innocence - an incredibly rare combination that young Dickie Moore managed to portray like a true virtuoso. My heart went out to that boy throughout. If you’ve read Charles Dickens’ classic book, this feature film will be an even greater treat."
Evelyn Trenton (Lorain, Ohio)
CAST & CREW:
William J. Cowen
Alec B. Francis - Mr. Brownlow
Barbara Kent - Rose Maylie
Sonny Ray - The Artful Dodger
George K. Arthur - Toby Crackit
George Nash - Charles Bates
Clyde Cook - Chitfing
Lionel Belmore - Mr. Bumble
Tempe Pigott - Mrs. Corney
Nelson McDowell - Sowerberry
Virginia Sale - Mrs. Sowerberry
Harry Holman - Grimwig
Bobby Nelson - Noah Claypole
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