Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1968

So far 2011 has been a pretty classy year-most notably because a British man has come onto my radar.

No, not that kind of radar (what American girl doesn't wish?), actually, he's dead and his name is Charles Dickens.

Since this winter I've been practically swooning over the guy-first it was the incredible looking, suspenseful, 2005 BBC miniseries based on his novel Bleak House (Watch it! High drama, and it's free on Netflix), which then inspired my summer of Dickens, where I will attempt to read as many of his books as humanly possible.

Or maybe, just finish one? I've always given up before-Great Expectations? Oh, got about thirty pages into far as I'm concerned Pip is still wondering around a graveyard.

A Tale Of Two Cities is going strong right now, and chock full of coincidence, the Oscars also had their own little affair with Dickens, and his novel Oliver Twist, in 1968, naming the musical Oliver!, as the best picture of that year.

This is not one of those musicals that has a wide appeal. There are not enough memorable songs to keep the movie going the entire 2.5 hours, and theater hating folk would easily get turned off by rousing production numbers and long sweeping ballads sung on roof tops.

However, it is for these same reasons that Oliver! is a classic, adored by fans of musicals for over forty years. Revisiting this for the first time since I was a kid, I can definitely say that the film version is enjoyable enough for a weekend movie day.

There are several memorable songs ("I'd Do Anything For You", "Where Is Love"), but by far, the one show stopping musical scene, lead by that enjoyable and sneaky Artful Dodger, brings together all the merchants from the streets to perform, "Consider Yourself".

I get a bit picky when it comes to musical movies, I need to be thrilled by even more music than this had to offer, but as a whole Oliver! stands the test of time quite well. It owes a tip of the hat to Dickens for the infamous story, and Jack Wild for stealing every scene as The Artful Dodger.

It has been seen that I thoroughly get into theatrical productions-via film and television-of Charles Dickens, but will I ever turn the final page in one of his books? By the end of this week, there will be an answer.

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