Oliver! Blu-ray Review

Please, sir, I want some more. 5 Stars

Sony’s MOD program has essentially re-issued Twilight Time’s now out of print Blu-ray of Oliver!, winner of six Academy Awards in 1968 including Best Picture.

Oliver! (1968)
Released: 27 Sep 1968
Rated: G
Runtime: 153 min
Director: Carol Reed
Genre: Drama, Family, Musical
Cast: Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe
Writer(s): Lionel Bart (book), Vernon Harris (screenplay), Charles Dickens (freely adapted from "Oliver Twist" by)
Plot: After being sold to a mortician, young orphan Oliver Twist runs away and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.
IMDB rating: 7.5
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 1.0 DD (Mono)
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Rating: G
Run Time: 2 Hr. 33 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 12/11/2018
MSRP: $24.99

The Production: 4.5/5

Charles Dickens classic tale of Oliver Twist was adapted as a stage musical in 1960 and was such a success that in 1968 Romulus Films hired Carol Reed to direct a film version that was released by Columbia Pictures. It is a very familiar story; a young boy, Oliver Twist (Mark Lester), is living at an orphanage under deplorable conditions. Sold to a funeral home, Oliver escapes to London, where he meets the Artful Dodger (Jack Wild), who introduces him to Fagin (Ron Moody). Fagin runs a pick pocketing gang full of orphaned children who also fence items stolen by Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed). Will Oliver continue a life of crime living on the streets of London, or will he find a family to adopt and love him?

The musical Oliver! has a special place in my heart, as it was the only musical in high school that I appeared in (as a member of the “adult” chorus), despite my being tone deaf and no real ability to sing. This movie version is pure magic, though, with brilliant and award-winning and nominated performances by Oliver Reed, Ron Moody, and Jack Wild (better known to US audiences as Jimmy from NBC’s H.R. Pufnstuf).

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Sony’s new MOD release appears to have the same transfer as the previous and now out of print Twilight Time release from 2013. For more details, see Richard Gallagher’s review of that disc.

Audio: 5/5

This appears to be the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track from Twilight Time’s release. For more details, see Richard Gallagher’s review of that disc.

Special Features: 3.5/5

Many of the special features from the previous Twilight Time release have been ported over for this Sony MOD release, with the notable exceptions of the sing-a-longs, dance instructions, the isolated score and 8-page booklet.

Original Behind the Scenes Featurette (1080i; 7:37): A very vintage and faded promotional film on the making of the movie.

The Locations of “Oliver!” (1080i; 4:37): A look at the many real locations that were recreated on the backlot of Shepperton Studios.

Meeting Oliver! (1080p; 14:45): Mark Lester discusses his role as Oliver in this 2007 interview.

Meeting Fagin! (1080p; 13:24): Ron Moody discusses his role as Fagin in this 2007 interview.

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:44)

Overall: 5/5

It’s great to see Sony release many of their licensed titles that have gone out of print on Blu-ray, and Oliver! is no exception.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

11 Comments

  1. Todd – you appeared in Oliver! too as a small schoolboy? Ah, bless! I myself played the role of Oliver in our amateur school production about four decades ago. On the opening night performance for the parents , I was so overcome with nerves, I couldn't sing "Where Is Love?" for the life of me! My proud mother recorded the dreadful performance and she played it at a family gathering a few years ago. Ghastly, toe-curlingly bad. Like a cat yowling. My son was in hysterics. I've rarely been so embarrassed.

  2. "Notable exceptions" in the bonus features, indeed.
    One isolated track and one 8-page booklet = Nick and Julie
    Glad to learn that "Oliver!" will continue to be available for all to discover;
    but I, for one, will never part with this unique and most valued edition from TT.

  3. I always found Mark Lester just a tad a bit too soppy … though it's always amused me that Oliver's voice was in fact dubbed by Carol Reed's daughter!
    But visually, it is indeed simply wonderful. If you want to hear it as it should sound however, you must track down a copy of the original London cast recording. It's sublime. Never been bettered. And, as a bonus, that original cast recording features the great Barry Humphries as the undertaker, in 'That's Your Funeral'.

  4. AnthonyClarke

    I always found Mark Lester just a tad a bit too soppy … though it's always amused me that Oliver's voice was in fact dubbed by Carol Reed's daughter!
    But visually, it is indeed simply wonderful. If you want to hear it as it should sound however, you must track down a copy of the original London cast recording. It's sublime. Never been bettered. And, as a bonus, that original cast recording features the great Barry Humphries as the undertaker, in 'That's Your Funeral'.

    The Google found it pretty quickly https://www.amazon.com/Oliver-1960-Original-London-Cast/dp/B000025BD5

    The Beatles first appearances on the Ed Sullivan Shows have the original Broadway cast doing some of the songs as well …

    And I believe Mr. Jones may have Monkeed around with the notes in this full version of "I'ld Do Anything" …

  5. Just wanted to mention in my very extensive cast album collection (both LP and CD), I had always been meaning to get the Original London Cast of Oliver! and for some reason had never gotten around to getting it even though it has always been important to me (possibly not important enough until today) to hear the score in its initial recording by its original cast. I rectified that omission this morning after being reminded in this thread that I didn't have it. Soon it will join its Broadway sibling on the shelf.

  6. I've been wanting an expanded soundtrack–with better sound quality–for the longest. At least the TT blu-ray offers a M&E track. However, I wonder why Columbia and Sony have not reached out to Harvard's Houghton Library to get a copy of the original score. The library has in its archive, 10 of Green's reel-to-reel copies of transfers, playbacks, and the background score.

  7. I had posted this somewhere, but it seemed to have vanished. Anyhow…

    I’ve been wanting an expanded soundtrack–with better sound quality–for the longest. At least the TT Blu-ray offers an M&E track. However, I wonder why Columbia and Sony have not reached out to Harvard’s Houghton Library to get a copy of the original score. The library has in its archive, 10 of Green’s reel-to-reel copies of transfers, playbacks, and background score.

    https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/24/archival_objects/909303
    https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/24/archival_objects/909304
    https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/24/archival_objects/909412

Leave a Reply