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Thread: Oliver! (1968)

  1. #41
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    (Apologies if a thread for this film already exists - I did look, but couldn't spot one).

    I watched Oliver! tonight for the first time in about 30 years. I'm a BIG musical fan, loving everything from Gypsy to The Producers but there's something very unsatisfactory about this movie.

    It took me a while to figure out what's so wrong with it. It's not the cast - Jack Wild, Ollie Reed and Ron Moody were outstanding (although I did want to slap Mark Lester upside the head a few times). The tunes are pretty solid all up. Certainly can't fault the source material. No, the problem is a combination of dodgy direction and god-awful choreography. I can't count the number of times fairly straight forward numbers degenerated into cringe-making bloated stage-y dreck with marching bands, high-kicking bakers and tumbling park-goers. The result was the film dragged on too long, and out-stayed it's welcome by about half an hour.

    I think I actually enjoyed Sextette more.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Country: UK Mr Sloane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers View Post
    (Apologies if a thread for this film already exists - I did look, but couldn't spot one).

    I watched Oliver! tonight for the first time in about 30 years. I'm a BIG musical fan, loving everything from Gypsy to The Producers but there's something very unsatisfactory about this movie.

    It took me a while to figure out what's so wrong with it. It's not the cast - Jack Wild, Ollie Reed and Ron Moody were outstanding (although I did want to slap Mark Lester upside the head a few times). The tunes are pretty solid all up. Certainly can't fault the source material. No, the problem is a combination of dodgy direction and god-awful choreography. I can't count the number of times fairly straight forward numbers degenerated into cringe-making bloated stage-y dreck with marching bands, high-kicking bakers and tumbling park-goers. The result was the film dragged on too long, and out-stayed it's welcome by about half an hour.

    I think I actually enjoyed Sextette more.
    I love musicals but I soon get bored when the dancing breaks out. Oklahoma and West Side Story would both be greatly improved with some judicious pruning ( and the less said about Seven Brides For Seven Brothers the better).
    But my biggest gripe with Oliver is Shani Wallis I have the original soundtrack and she is not a patch on Georgia Brown.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    I don't have so much of an issue with dancing but it's got to have something to add to the story. In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers it fitted into the narrative - like the barn raising scene. Same with West Side Story - the dance became an act of gang aggression in some scenes.

    But with Oliver!, people would swarm onto the street for no apparent reason, get their elbows swinging in and out for a bit and then bugger off again, never to be seen again. And it just dragged on.....

  4. #44
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Here is the Oliver! thread: http://filmdope.com/forums/yo...er-1968-a.html

    I do not usually like musicals very much, but Oliver! is one of the very best films I have seen. A true classic.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandy Forsdyke View Post
    But his voice was dubbed in the movie as Lester couldn't sing. How did they release a record with his name on?
    And Katie Price writes novels!

  6. #46
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers View Post
    Certainly can't fault the source material. No, the problem is a combination of dodgy direction and god-awful choreography. I can't count the number of times fairly straight forward numbers degenerated into cringe-making bloated stage-y dreck with marching bands, high-kicking bakers and tumbling park-goers. The result was the film dragged on too long, and out-stayed it's welcome by about half an hour.

    I think I actually enjoyed Sextette more.
    But ... but ...

    Oliver! is marvellous, such a feel-good film, so full of energy. I love the bloated stagey dreck

  7. #47
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    I thought Oliver was good, but almost all movies based on theatrical musicals seem to varying degrees awkward. Musicals made for film like Singing in the Rain and Wizard of Oz seem more suited for the medium. A few people dancing and singing in movies works, what you usually get from original movie musicals. A bunch of people dancing and singing in the streets always seeems a little clunky.

  8. #48
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    As much as I love Oliver! I did get some amusement from the spoof song and dance number in Monty Python's Meaning of Life. Priceless!

  9. #49
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Oliver! is a superb film, and it is unimaginable without Carroll Reed's direction.

    I usually can't stand big 'numbers' in musicals. I really hate them. At least there is Austria to look at in The Sound of Music and I can ignore the performers. But most musicals are on a set. A few minutes of Hello Dolly! or West Side Story or Thoroughly Modern Millie or South Pacific and I am ready to take the dog out in a blizzard.

    Bu the "Who Will Buy?" sequence in Oliver! is a great moment: it really does capture exactly what it would be like for an abused child to suddenly find another life and the whole world is transformed.

    And it is not 'stagey dreck'.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    Hello Dolly is horrible, an overproduced dentist drill, and it is amazing Gene Kelly directed the antithesis of the more intimate musicals he did for MGM.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post

    Bu the "Who Will Buy?" sequence in Oliver! is a great moment: it really does capture exactly what it would be like for an abused child to suddenly find another life and the whole world is transformed.

    And it is not 'stagey dreck'.
    We may have to agree to disagree here, TimR. I think Carol Reed totally blew it with the 'Who Will Buy' scene. It was waaaaaaay over the top for what it was supposed to represent. The film was all clumsy zooms, speeding up motion and shonky dance numbers. I have to say he was never one of my favourite directors, but this was bottom rung stuff. Most of the action that went with the songs was pretty poorly thought out.

  12. #52
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will.15 View Post
    Hello Dolly is horrible, an overproduced dentist drill, and it is amazing Gene Kelly directed the antithesis of the more intimate musicals he did for MGM.
    Agreed - I was bored stiff by Hello Dolly. (Can't stand Michael Crawford)

    Gene Kelly did such a fab job with the Broadway Melody part of Singing in the Rain - but it was part of the film, not the whole thing. I think if he'd done ALL of Singing in the Rain it would have been as overdone as a 20 minute boiled egg..

  13. #53
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers View Post
    We may have to agree to disagree here, TimR. I think Carol Reed totally blew it with the 'Who Will Buy' scene. It was waaaaaaay over the top for what it was supposed to represent. The film was all clumsy zooms, speeding up motion and shonky dance numbers. I have to say he was never one of my favourite directors, but this was bottom rung stuff. Most of the action that went with the songs was pretty poorly thought out.
    True - disagreement about fillm is one of the pleasures of the forum, and liking film.

    It is one of my favourite moments in film. I do not notice the things you do - perhaps because I don't generally like musicals and I don't take them that seriously. For me it is a scene that builds and builds, all from Oliver's perspective.

    As for Reed: he is one of the very best British directors. The Third Man and Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol are outstanding productions.

    And as for West Side Story - do you really 'buy' the idea that those ballet dancers leaping across the screen are supposed to be members of a murderous Manhattan gang? Even for a second? That is why I don't like musicals - they aren't real.


    Quote Originally Posted by will.15 View Post
    Hello Dolly is horrible, an overproduced dentist drill, and it is amazing Gene Kelly directed the antithesis of the more intimate musicals he did for MGM.
    And it has Barbra Streisand screaming and caterwauling. A nightmare in real life...

    I saw it on stage as a boy with my parents with Carol Channing. It was different and there were some scenes that were enjoyable. But yes - the film is a manic circus.
    Last edited by TimR; 22-03-11 at 05:36 AM.

  14. #54
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    True - disagreement about fillm is one of the pleasures of the forum, and liking film.

    It is one of my favourite moments in film. I do not notice the things you do - perhaps because I don't generally like musicals and I don't take them that seriously. For me it is a scene that builds and builds, all from Oliver's perspective.

    As for Reed: he is one of the very best British directors. The Third Man and Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol are outstanding productions.

    And as for West Side Story - do you really 'buy' the idea that those ballet dancers leaping across the screen are supposed to be members of a murderous Manhattan gang? Even for a second? That is why I don't like musicals - they aren't real.

    Agreed - if we all loved the same things in film, it would be a very dull world.

    I'm not a Carol Reed devotee. I think The Third Man, Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol are okay, but David Lean is more my kind of guy as a director.

    I'm a hard-core musical lover (as my Ethel Merman record collection attests), but not all musicals are the same (Thank God!). Oklahoma and Yentl are not the same ilk. What irks one viewer will delight another and that's the magic of film-making.

  15. #55
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers View Post
    I think Carol Reed totally blew it with the 'Who Will Buy' scene. It was waaaaaaay over the top for what it was supposed to represent. The film was all clumsy zooms, speeding up motion and shonky dance numbers. I have to say he was never one of my favourite directors, but this was bottom rung stuff. Most of the action that went with the songs was pretty poorly thought out.

  16. #56
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faginsgirl View Post
    Oh, I know, FG - and I'm happy to admit that my opinion may fly in the face of popular consensus about this movie and Carol Reed's prowess as a director...

  17. #57
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers View Post
    Oh, I know, FG - and I'm happy to admit that my opinion may fly in the face of popular consensus about this movie and Carol Reed's prowess as a director...
    Lol Kitty, admittedly I find your comments a bit bizzare, but of course that may be just me and my Oliver adoration

    And there are films where I can`t see what all the fuss is about and that others think are fabulous!

    xx

  18. #58
    Member Country: Great Britain Lustgarten's Avatar
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    I love 'Oliver!' and distinctly remember sobbing (as a 4 year old) in the Gaumont in Bradford when Oliver sang 'Where is Love?' in the undertaker's dank cellar! It still moves me years later.

    But why has this excellent production not yet graced a Blu Ray package - surely it's made for it! Anyone got any ideas?

    Cheers all,

    Lustgarten
    Last edited by Lustgarten; 22-03-11 at 12:27 PM. Reason: yet another typo!

  19. #59
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lustgarten View Post

    But why has this excellent production not yet graced a Blu Ray package - surely it's made for it! Anyone got any ideas?

    Cheers all,

    Lustgarten

    Because for some bizarre reason the coalition government has put all future Blu Ray DVD releases into Kitty Whiskers' hands. Blame Nick Clegg - I know I do.

  20. #60
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Sloane View Post
    But my biggest gripe with Oliver is Shani Wallis I have the original soundtrack and she is not a patch on Georgia Brown.
    Surely Shani isn`t as bad as this Nancy? I dare you to get to the end.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeFp7...eature=related
    Last edited by faginsgirl; 22-03-11 at 04:00 PM.

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