Oliver Twist (1922)
Ostensibly a vehicle for Jackie Coogan, the 1922 Oliver Twist refuses to realign the Charles Dickens novel to accommodate the personality of its star. This Frank Lloyd-directed silent film is one of the most faithful of all cinematic adaptations of the Dickens work. The orphaned Oliver, labelled a "troublemaker" because he dares to ask for more food, is farmed out to work as an undertaker's assistant. Escaping his cruel master, Oliver falls in with a gang of pickpockets, headed by the colorful Fagin (played by Lon Chaney Sr., who steals a lot more than a few watches and wallets in the course of the picture). Kindly Mr. Brownlow (Lionel Belmore), Oliver's real grandfather, tries to help the lad, but the evil Bill Sikes (George Siegmann) complicates matters. While Jackie Coogan may seem a bit too well-fed and self-sufficient to play Oliver, he was certainly more suited to the role than the star of the 1916 filmization of Oliver Twist--actress Marie Doro! Long believed to be a lost film, Oliver Twist was painstakingly restored in the early 1970s, using bits and pieces from various foreign prints and negatives. … More
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Critic Reviews for Oliver Twist
Audience Reviews for Oliver Twist
Coogan is kind of a cute kid, and having a movie with Chaney is always good, but this wasn't the best movie of this kind I've seen. I actually haven't read the book, maybe it is boring, but the movie could have been better than it was.More
Not a bad adaptation for its time. Jackie Coogan was fresh from his success in "The Kid," and the film is obviously tailored as his showcase. Lon Chaney appears in typically elaborate makeup as Fagin, but has little to do beyond hobbling around with a heavy stoop.
The story seems heavily compacted (Oliver's acclimation into Fagin's pickpocket gang is almost instantaneous), but it hits the necessary notes. Coogan is as cute and vulnerable as one expects him to be, and is indulged with one unnecessary scene where he pantomimes the gait of an old man.
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