Over Christmas I was delighted to see one of my favourite films… and even though I must have seen it at least four times over the years I thought I’d watch it again….and found that I was totally enthralled with it all over again.
The film was ‘Oliver Twist’ – the 1948 black and white film based on Charles Dickens 1837 novel (which I have read and know that any film of the story is only the first half of the book). Its directed by David Lean, and stars Alec Guinness as Fagin, Robert Newton as the brutal Bill Sykes, and the very young John Howard Davies as Oliver Twist.
I think because its in black and white, its far more atmospheric, and every scene was so beautifully and dramatically lit, that each scene was like looking at a piece of artwork. Of course the sets were part of it, but it was also the feeling of joy, or anger, or dispair, or sorrow that added so much to the story by those black and white images. If the film had been in colour (and I have seen other more modern versions of the book) I’d have watched it in a different way, but the black and white exaggerated the depth of the storyline.
An absolute joy of a film.