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How well I remember this one; a trip to the movies was our Christmas gift from our parochial school priest on the last day of school before Christmas (this is when the movie was first out in theaters)... Being young, impressionable, and -- unlike today's youth -- not desensitized by years of seeing violence on the screen, I was shocked and somewhat traumatized by Nancy's murder!!! But loved it, loved the songs, loved the characters, got a crush on "bad boy" Bill (despite the murder), and really enjoyed seeing it again last night. Great acting/casting/the whole bit...

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Oliver! has impressive production values and a stellar cast. Still, I can't help but look at the film through the eyes of a critic who sees it as just another gargantuan overblown widescreen movie of the 60s - the decade infamous for such fodder.


I'll say this much, the opening of the film, "Food Glorious Food" is a winner and so is the "Consider Yourself" number lavish and delightful. But "Who Will Buy This Wonderful Feeling" gets heavy handed, dull and cliche, particularly when the prissy school boys decide to saturate the equally prissy school girls in their yellow and white britches in the local pond/fountain.


I'll agree with you on one point, the murder of Nancy and the film's climactic hunt down of Oliver Reed is terrorizingly shocking - especially if you see the film when you're young and impressionable.

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But "Who Will Buy This Wonderful Feeling" gets heavy handed, dull and cliche,


I keep thinking I was still a child when this movie came out; but, given its year, I had to have been out of high school. The "Who Will Buy" had me (and a lot of others in the theater) just stunned. Starting with that incredible vocal by Mark Lester, the beauties just kept piling on. The different fruit and flower sellers were incredibly affecting on my sensibilities. On the huge screen, I just couldn't get enough. For years they kept issuing it (and TCM was showing it) with the mono soundtrack. FINALLY it got the proper remastering! Yes, I can hear some vocal edits I never noticed before, but..... Woo-woo!!!, as Hugh Herbert (and Andy Hardy) would say... And before all that, Harry Secombe in "Boy for Sale."


I knew the musical from the Broadway show album (and loved it), but the movie impressed me beyond belief. Now, the (original) soundtrack LP was good, but it couldn't quite duplicate the thrill(s) of the movie. Several bonuses on the DVD, too.



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Scrooge is worse than Oliver! but Oliver! is not director Carol Reed's finest hour - that kudo belongs to the non-musical: The Third Man.


Musicals of the mid-to-late 60s and beyond have mostly suffered from Hollywood's epic desire to take the simple premise of 'boy meets girl' and transform it into a life and death struggle in which rarely is the ending a poignant or happy one. Musicals that succeeded from 60 onward - artistically speaking are as follows:


Hello Dolly!

My Fair Lady

The Music Man

West Side Story


Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann version)



Failures are as follows:


Lost Horizon


Paint Your Wagon

Steppin' Out

Thank God It's Friday

A Little Night Music


Cry Baby



A Chorus Line


Pete's Dragon


I'm not saying that I haven't found merit in the flops listed above - but there's no denying the fact that they are - in fact - FLOPS! I saw Annie and Pete's Dragon as a child and loved them both, but I'd hardly stake my reputation as a critic on what I found magical at the age of 5 or 6!

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Actually, Oliver! won best picture and best director. Please calm down, these are just thoughts shared by people about movies.:)

I don't think anyone on this page was trying to have some form of argument. Someone commented on their memory of the film Oliver!. I liked the film as a child and I still like the film as an adult. Speaking of Oliver! brought the film Scrooge to mind and so... that's how the lexicon works.

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I wasn't being argumentative - just critical of the film itself which I don't find effective or moving in the least. It's an opinion. I'm entitled to it, same as everybody else. No offence intended. None taken.

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I saw the original OLIVER!, on Broadway, and thought it was tremendous. When I saw the film, during its roadshow presentation, I was very disappointed in it. Over the years, I've softened to it, and see its good points, rather than its flaws. It's a big, over-produced musical from the 60s, and they're my favorite kind!

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I often find it so hard to critique something that meant so much to me as a child. When my family took me to see Oliver, I loved every minute of it, and was so devastated when Oliver Reed kills Shani Wallis. That memory stuck with me for quite a while. I love Lionel Bart's score and "Who Will Buy?" was a thing of beauty to a child in 1968. When I go back and read Pauline Kael's review of the movie, I have to remember that she saw it through the eyes of an extremely jaded, feminist writer, who abhorred any sort of sentiment in the movies. In reality, "Oliver" was overblown, but I still enjoy watching it.



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Pauline Kael was the worst kind of hack critic. She knew nothing about the musical genre, and spent most of her time, trying to be what she thought was hip. She was about as hip as Bob Hope, when he would appear dressed as The Fonz. I immediately dismiss the opinion of anyone who seriously quotes her to me.

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