Twisted childhood

When he wrote Oliver Twist in 1837, Charles Dickens had a cause: he was protesting the harsh and unjust treatment of children in England. His depiction of the situation was searing—more so than the best-known movie adaptations. David Lean’s atmospheric post–World War II film, which starred Alec Guinness, and the brilliantly stylized 1968 musical Oliver!, directed by Carol Reed, both played down the cruelty. (There have been many other versions: four appeared during the silent-movie era alone.)

 

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