Starring Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney
January, 1923

The performance of little Jackie Coogan in the name part of this new film version of the Charles Dickens' novel is highly sensitive and well sustained. Otherwise, the version strikes us as being more careful than inspired.

The present "Oliver Twist" traces the waif from Mr. Bumble's workhouse roof to the sheltering library of Mr. Brownlow and - since Jackie couldn't grow up for one film - ends right there. The brutal Bill Sykes, the arch scoundrel Fagin, Monks, "The Artful Dodger," Nancy Sykes, and all the other folk of the London slums are there, but they are pretty pale reflections of Dickens' imagination.

We fear Jackie's Oliver Twist will fall somewhere between the Dickens' lovers and his own fans, missing both of them. The first half will consider that Dickens has suffered, and the other half will want more of Jackie.

Starring Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney
February, 1923

"Oliver Twist" comes to the screen with success.

Jackie Coogan may well be considered with the greatest stars of the motion picture world - or the entire dramatic world for that matter. We will endeavor to consider his production, but it will be Jackie himself who will absorb most of our attention.

The well-known and beloved story of the little waif, Oliver, who, leaving the Orphans' Home falls into the hands of a band of crooks in the East End of London, has been brought to the screen with the same atmosphere and the same conception of characterization which you find in the Cruikshank illustrations in the Dickens's novel. And if there are any changes in the story, they are so slight that there was no confliction between our memory of "Oliver Twist" and the filmed story.

It is, undoubtedly, one of hte finer pictures of the year and one which reflects credit upon the screen, in addition to furnishing splendid entertainment.

Frank Lloyd may be proud of his direction of this production. And if he was also entrusted with the selection of the cast, he may be doubly proud. We did not realize that the ranks of motion picture players might so effectively rally to the casting of this classic.

Lon Chaney is sinister as Fagin. We also liked Edouard Trebaol as the Artful Dodger, and we wish to congratulate Gladys Brockwell upon her performance as Nancy Sikes. We had ceased to regard her seriously until we saw her as Nancy Sikes. We know now that we were unfair to judge her by the frightful productions in which she was starred.

And now we come to consider Jackie Coogan.

The same people who complained that he was too young to portray "Oliver Twist" before they saw the picture will undoubtedly remember "Oliver Twist" in years to come essentially as Jackie portrayed him. We never cease to marvel over this extraordinary child. Someone said that if we remembered half we knew in our infancy we would be wise inded. Jackie's infancy is not so far behind him that it is improbable that he remembers some of those things he brought with him from the Infinite.

Irving Cobb said of him in tribute . . .

". . . I do not know who is responsible for jackie Coogan. Perhaps the kindly Angels. If so, they did a goodjob, for I believe that, in his maturity, Jackie Coogan will be one of the blithest spirits that ever gave unending joy to countless millions." He already is that.

Video source: Kino, Movies Unlimited, Nostalgia, Facets

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