Sunday, January 11, 2015

The 'Artful Dodger' from 'Oliver!'

I was a bit under the gun to get the 'Victorian' entry done for this week's theme challenge but I knew I had failsafe with one particular figure in my inventory. 

Probably my first exposure to the Victorian period was as a child seeing the movie 'Oliver!' 

As many will agree it's often seen as a magical film for children, yet it has undeniably dark and troubling undertones. 

Victorian England's use of child labour, the extreme urban poverty (with its attendant crime) and the huge gap between the classes were core thematic elements in both Dickens' book and Carol Reed's film. Nonetheless, in amongst these grim surroundings are a set of characters which bring a spark of humanity and optimism to their place in life. We have the well-meaning crime boss Fagin, the irrepressible barmaid Nancy and the kind patrician Mr. Brownlow who all give Oliver hope and a sense that the world may not be all that bleak. 

Another character in this vein, and one of my favourites in the film, is the 'Artful' Dodger played brilliantly by the late Jack Wild. 

I remember as a kid thinking that the 'Dodger' was the absolute cat's pyjamas - craftily resourceful, embarrassingly brash and unfailingly optimistic. So, with this in mind I present to you my vision of the quintessential Victorian rogue : 'The Artful Dodger'

To conclude I leave you with the scene from 'Oliver!' where the Artful Dodger first introduces himself to Oliver.  Many will know it, some will not, but I'm sure for all it will bring a smile.