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Oliver Twist

January 9, 2010

I was moving around in the aisles of the bookstore when a small, abridged and an illustrated version of ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson caught my eye. I picked it up and went through the pages. I simply like the feel of page, the illustrations and the long story being told in simple words.

I have read abridged versions of various classics more than the original, unabridged ones. This shorter version of ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ reminded me an abridged and illustrated version of ‘Oliver Twist’ that I had read in childhood.

Charles Dickens is my first officially favorite English author. Most of his novels are reflections of his own childhood and adulthood experiences. Sometimes it seems hard to believe that there existed such broad line between the poor and rich in the Victorian society. The child abuse was rampant. Orphanages were in despicable condition. The debtors’ prisons were harsh – and the laws were discriminating.

Oliver Twist is also the story of an orphan child whom the tides of life keep throwing here and there. His journey from orphanage to the family of casket makers to the gang of pickpockets teaches him too much in a short time. The novel is poignant, emotional, and romantic and the best thing about Charles Dickens is that his novels mostly have good endings where the justice is meted out, the lovers meet and the families reunite. Although Oliver suffers too much since young age but ultimately he grows up to be a gentleman and the noble member of the society.

This novel has been filmed and dramatized numerous times. I have seen at least 3-4 different versions. The lasted one is by Roman Polanski and released in 2005. The movie is good but it only concentrates on Oliver’s childhood times. This leaves a lot to be desired. Though it is never easy to encapsulate the whole novel or the main events in some over two hours but still the makers could have done better. That’s why I usually prefer TV series based on classic novels because they don’t have to worry about editing the significant events as such.

My favorite scene from the novel is – and that is incorporated in every version is when the young Oliver asks for more food at the orphanage one day. The administration serves food only in limited proportions so in return he’s been badly beaten up for asking more. That is the height of insensitivity. As a child I would often ask for more food and I can’t imagine being treated like that.

‘Oliver Twist’ is one of my favorite novels but this movie by Roman Polanski is just about average.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2010 5:23 pm

    I am definitely going to see the movie after such a wonderfully well written review, For me the highlight of the review was. where u mentioned about the guy that he was not allowed to ask for more food..so heart breaking.
    Thanks for the post 🙂

    • January 16, 2010 1:43 pm

      Try watching TV series of ‘Oliver Twist’. This movie is so incomplete.

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