If you, like me have grown up with the Carry On/Oops! Vicar perception of Dickens’ stories, then I prescribe to you Mr Lean’s treatments to restore your faith. It’s a simple tale of cruelty versus compassion. But to give compassion real authority, the cruelty must be similarly weighted. While Ron Moody’s Fagin (from the musical) gets the ‘lovable rogue’ depiction, Guinness’ dirt is real. Same goes for the rest of the cast. Dickens wasn’t intending caricature, he was intending realism.
Based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket and he joins a household of young boys who are trained to steal for their master. This version of Oliver Twist is topped by Alec Guinness's masterly performance of arch-thug Fagin.