Oliver Twist

Superstar child actor Jackie Coogan is perfectly cast in the title role of this faithful Dickens adaptation, opposite the “Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney as Fagin.

The works of Charles Dickens were a popular source for silent film producers and the story of Oliver Twist had already been adapted for the big screen five times when Glasgow-born director Frank Lloyd took on the challenge. With his portrayal of the young orphan who asks for more, Coogan was finally given the ideal follow-up to his star-making, heart-rending performance in The Kid. His Oliver is suitably endearing and spirited, whilst Chaney’s Fagin is relatively restrained in its depiction of Dickens’ problematic characterisation, and ultimately sympathetic.

Dir. Frank Lloyd | US | 1922 | N/C PG | 1h 16m

With: Jackie Coogan, Lon Chaney, George Siegmann

Performing live: Neil Brand (piano)

Screening material courtesy of Film Preservation Associates

Online programme notes by David Cairns


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