Consider yourself lucky! 4.5 Stars

Oliver! is one of six movies included in Sony’s Columbia Classics 4K UHD Collection Volume 2.

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: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: G
Run Time: 2 Hr. 33 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 10/12/2021
MSRP: $164.99

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: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Sony’s UHD release, currently only available as part of the studio’s 6-movie Columbia Classics 4K UHD Collection Volume 2 boxed set, is a major step up from the 2018 Blu-ray that I reviewed. There is still some issues that have been “baked in” to either the original camera negative or the 35mm interpositive that was used in place of two reels that have gone missing (those shots have a barely noticeable added softness to them). The use of HDR10 allows for more vibrant colors and deeper blacks with stronger shadow detail. Fine detail is also improved, with more noticeable fabric textures, facial features, and intricate stonework in the set’s backgrounds. You can even see seams in the background painting of London at the 52:33 mark. The included Blu-ray is also remastered from this new 4K digital restoration.

Audio: 4.5/5

Sony offers three English language audio options on the UHD disc, a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround, and a default Dolby Atmos track (which is Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible). Per the liner notes, the 5.1 mix was derived from the movie’s original 4-track LCRS (Left-Center-Right-Surround) mix, and the new Atmos track was built on from there using the same Artificial Intelligence process used on Lawrence of Arabia and Gandhi in last year’s Volume 1 set, and then further mixing and refinement by sound designer Paul Ottosson (The Hurt Locker, White House Down). The result is a wider front soundstage with subtle surround and height extensions and a stronger LFE presence. This is not a reference mix by any means, but a solid improvement over the 5.1 mix, which was still very good for a film from this era.

Special Features: 4/5

The UHD disc contains no special features whatsoever (not even the new audio commentary track), but a nice selection of new and old special features can be found on the included Blu-ray disc.

**NEW** Audio Commentary with Film Historian Steven C. Smith: The film historian discusses the film in great detail.

**NEW** Jack Wild Screen Test (1080p; 1:26): Not much to describe, other than the colors here are faded.

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

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.

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

**NEW** Sing-Alongs (1080p; 36:09): Karaoke-style lyrics appear with a selection of songs from the film.

**NEW** Dance-Alongs (1080p; 12:53): How to perform some of the dance routines from the film, after reading a lengthy disclaimer stating that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is not responsible for any harm, loss, damage, or accident that may occur from the physical activity.

**NEW** Dance and Sing-Alongs (1080p; 10:13): The same disclaimer, but now combining singing and dancing!

Trailers (1080p; 7:32): The theatrical, teaser and awards trailers are included.

Digital Copy: An insert (that can be found inside the collectible booklet from the set) contains a code to redeem a UHD digital copy of the film on Movies Anywhere. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, Movies Anywhere will provide 4K UHD rights, but most digital providers, including the Movies Anywhere app, only have Oliver! in HD.

Overall: 4.5/5

Sony has really improved upon their prior restoration efforts on Oliver! and is a welcome inclusion with their Columbia Classics 4K UHD Collection Volume 2 boxed set. Hopefully, the studio will get the digital redemptions straightened out with the digital retailers.

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Todd Erwin

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noel aguirre

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A definite buy on Black Friday- that entire set that is.
Love Oliver - saw it as a boy. Even if he’s dubbed by a woman. Timeless.
 
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Matt Hough

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Knowing this 4K version was now available, I revisited my Twilight Time Blu-ray of Oliver! this evening. I was struck mainly by a definite lack of bass in the sound mix and a slightly underwhelming aural experience (compared to say, Funny Girl, made in the same year and by the same studio though with different crews and personnel). I really do hope this new release steps up markedly from that somewhat lackluster audio presentation.
 

noel aguirre

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Maybe, but if it's anything like Set 1 it may be gone well before BF.
Well I purchased Set 1 many months after it was released on a Deal of The Day for like almost half price. Thanksgiving is like a little more than a month away and I don’t think the masses are clamoring for these dinosaur titles- so I’m gonna wait.
 

Todd Erwin

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The HD digital that most retailers still have and have not upgraded to the new 4k are missing the overture.
 

Drew Salzan

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Knowing this 4K version was now available, I revisited my Twilight Time Blu-ray of Oliver! this evening. I was struck mainly by a definite lack of bass in the sound mix and a slightly underwhelming aural experience (compared to say, Funny Girl, made in the same year and by the same studio though with different crews and personnel). I really do hope this new release steps up markedly from that somewhat lackluster audio presentation.
The sound design and fidelity was never good. It’s ironic that it received an Academy award for best sound.
 

David Norman

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Well I purchased Set 1 many months after it was released on a Deal of The Day for like almost half price. Thanksgiving is like a little more than a month away and I don’t think the masses are clamoring for these dinosaur titles- so I’m gonna wait.

Yes there were some sets available as late as Nov on Amazon though lots of time between early July and late Sept and again early Oct to BF when it was sold out most everywhere. I don't think anyone else had any after July or maybe August -- at least until BBY found a boxful last month and sold them.

It's possible this set could follow the same pattern, but stock already appears more scarce at the same point of release week time than with Vol 1. There isn't the recall issue that hit LOA with Box 1 that caused quite a few people to cancel orders and the scalpers who saw what happened with Box 1 appear a lot more active judging from the listing on Ebay of the individual titles already
 

roxy1927

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The sound design and fidelity was never good. It’s ironic that it received an Academy award for best sound.
Even in its first roadshow engagements? I thought it was shown in blow up 70 MM which would have had 6 track stereo and allowed Johnny Greens spectacular conducting to shine through like on WSS.

large.jpeg
 
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[email protected]!

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Even in its first roadshow engagements? I thought it was shown in blow up 70 MM which would have had 6 track stereo and allowed Johnny Greens spectacular conducting to shine through like on WSS.

large.jpeg

The sound design and fidelity was never good. It’s ironic that it received an Academy award for best sound.
My memory of the 70 MM first run in Denver, at the now defunct Century 21 Theatre was that the sound was SPECTACULAR, immersive impressive and a big part of the thrill of the presentation. Perhaps memory is enhancing it but that theatre also played the Denver first run of BARRY LYNDON and again, a thrilling and rich kind of sonic experience. Both films and their presentation remain vivid, indelible and seminal in my moviegoing. Maybe Denver just got really lucky? The sound and music Oscars received by both films made perfect sense to me, based. on that experience.
 

roxy1927

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Yes I remember the sound being spectacular as well but I was very young. I remember feeling that when the title credits started I was pinned to the back of the theater. I was like Whoa! I saw it in the suburbs but the theater had excellent stereo. Christmas '69.
 
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Knowing this 4K version was now available, I revisited my Twilight Time Blu-ray of Oliver! this evening. I was struck mainly by a definite lack of bass in the sound mix and a slightly underwhelming aural experience (compared to say, Funny Girl, made in the same year and by the same studio though with different crews and personnel). I really do hope this new release steps up markedly from that somewhat lackluster audio presentation.
I
 

roxy1927

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I was always impressed by Walter Scharf's work on Funny Girl so I'm surprised Johnny Green who knew his stuff(not only WSS but Bye Bye Birdie sounds terrific too) would allow the sound on Oliver! to be disappointing.
 

noel aguirre

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Yes there were some sets available as late as Nov on Amazon though lots of time between early July and late Sept and again early Oct to BF when it was sold out most everywhere. I don't think anyone else had any after July or maybe August -- at least until BBY found a boxful last month and sold them.

It's possible this set could follow the same pattern, but stock already appears more scarce at the same point of release week time than with Vol 1. There isn't the recall issue that hit LOA with Box 1 that caused quite a few people to cancel orders and the scalpers who saw what happened with Box 1 appear a lot more active judging from the listing on Ebay of the individual titles already
On sale today at Amazon. Just ordered- good discount.
 

David Norman

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Back is stock at DD as well -- $94 with the 10% discount (DEEP10 or PLUNGE)
BN and a couple other ALLIANCE stores with current stock at wide ranging price points.

It seems there are quite a few folks with orders from before still awaiting shipping so not sure how long it will last this time.

Target seems to be in and out, but mostly out of stock since last Wed.
BBY -- $120 in stock (it's an 8 digit SKU so this may also be an ALLIANCE stock item and not directly BBY)
Bullmoose down to In-store only
 

Bryan^H

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Does anyone know if this will be available to buy individually or is it a "set only" exclusive?
 

Robert Crawford

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Does anyone know if this will be available to buy individually or is it a "set only" exclusive?
We don't know yet as I think only one title from the first volume was made available for individual purchase in Region A. There might have been other titles in other regions as 4K/UHD releases for the most part are region-free.