Oliver! & Lexia

At the beach house recently, our oldest noticed that we had Oliver! in our Apple TV library. I’ve loved the 1968 movie ever since I was a child. It’s such a memorable movie and gorgeous music catalog. I’ve tried playing this movie for her at least half a dozen times and upon seeing it in the library she says to me. “Is that Oliver! the movie, the one I read about in Lexia?” I didn’t know what to think, I was just very grateful that my child is really focusing when working on online school work. 

I started reading up on the movie and found it won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director. I thought that that fete was uncommon but sadly after checking online. The odds of a director winning the Oscar are still pretty good. Six films in the last 10 years (Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The Artist, Birman, No Country For Old Men & The Departed) have won both prizes in the same year. 

Back to the Movie, the lead character of Oliver was played by Mark Lester. Who while doe faced and the perfect look for the role of Oliver, the lad could not sing a single note. The director dubbed his voice with actress Kathe Green’s voice, she also starred in Blake Edward’s The Party as the spoiled hippy daughter. Green just happened to be chosen because her father was music arranger for the film. Of course they tweaked the 20 year olds voice to sounds that of a 9 year old.

Mark Lester in his 20's when he became friends with Michael Jackson

Mark Lester in his 20's when he became friends with Michael Jackson

 The role of Fagin was played by Ron Moody who preformed the role in the West End production landed the role after Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers and Dick Van Dyke turned the role down. For the role of Nancy was originally offered to Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Basey and Julie Andrews. I think they were aiming a little high on those, they would have crushed the movie.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Oliver! is the only G-rated film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. 

In a rather odd twist of stories to share about Oliver!. Mark Lester became friends with Michael Jackson in the 70’s and remained friends till Jackson’s death. Lester claims to have been a sperm donor for Jackson back in 1996 and that Paris and Prince Jackson could possibly be his offspring. He’s even offered to provide a DNA sample to determine the results, of course the family has denied and distanced themselves from the claim.

Interesting fact: Jack Wild (Artful Dodger) had to wear lifts because he was significantly shorter than Mark Lester (Oliver), more embarrassing, Wild was 15 during filming, while Lester was 9.