Aloha my wonderful merfolk!
The tale of Oliver created by Disney is not an individual and brand new concept. The movie is loosely based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. There are a lot of similarities between Oliver Twist and Oliver and Company and today, I am going to be discussing these, as well as sharing the work of the wonderful Charles Dickens.
In the original Charles Dickens novel, Oliver was born in a parish workhouse; his mother dying in childbirth. Mr Bumble, the Beadle, names the boy Oliver Twist and sends him to an orphanage. In this orphanage, the boys are mistreat and starved. When Oliver asks for more gruel he is branded a trouble maker and sent to the local undertakers to take up an apprenticeship. Oliver gets into a fight with the undertakers eldest son and is beaten for it. He later manages to escape and runs away to London.
In Oliver and Company, Oliver is an orphaned kitten who is left in a box in New York City with his brothers and sisters. All the other kittens are adopted by passers by and Oliver is left to fend for himself. He wanders around New York City looking for a new owner.
The Artful Dodger is the first person Oliver comes across upon reaching London. Dodger, AKA Jack Dawkins, is a pickpocket and is known for his skill and cunning. In the novel, Dodger becomes Olivers closest friend and attempts to teach him how to pickpocket, to no avail.
In Oliver and Company, Oliver comes across Dodger the dog when he assists in helping to steal some hot dogs. Oliver follows Dodger back to the barge where he lives with all his friends. He is quickly accepted into the group and receives a warm welcome.
Fagin is the leader of the group of children who go out into London and pickpocket from those more fortunate. He is described in the novel as being a ‘receiver of stolen goods’. Although portrayed humorously, Fagin is actually a dark and cold man, not wanting to improve the lives of the boys in his care and more caring about his own welfare and his own life. When Oliver is taken in by the rich family, Fagin beats Dodger for having lost him and that it will mean the end to them all.
In Oliver and Company, Fagin is the ‘owner’ of several stray dogs. He brings them with him out into New York City to aid him in making and stealing money and goods he can sell. When Oliver is adopted by Jenny, the other dogs create a plan to steal him back so he can remain one of their gang. Fagin then ransoms Oliver to Jenny but gets a pang of a conscience when he see’s her to just be a little girl. He then returns Oliver freely to her.
In the novel, Bill Sikes is a vicious robber and murderer in Fagins gang. He is portrayed as a very rough and barbaric man. He ends up murdering his girlfriend Nancy when he suspects her of betraying him. It is from here that he is chased by a mob and ends up hanging himself whilst trying to escape.
In the Disney movie, Sykes is a loan shark who is owed money by Fagin. When Fagin does not go through his plan of ransom for Oliver, Sykes kidnaps Jenny and intends to ransom her instead. After the animals rescue Jenny with the help of Fagin, a chase ensues, ending with Sykes’ car going head first into an oncoming train and killing him.
The change in the pet of Sykes makes no real contribution to the story but I thought I would mention it anyway.
In the original novel, Bill Sikes has a dog of no particular breed. It is simply described as a white shaggy dog with a scratched and torn face.
In the Disney movie, Bullseye is replaced by two Dobermans called Roscoe and DeSoto. These dogs attack Oliver but end up being electrocuted when they fall onto the electrified railway near Brooklyn Bridge.
There are so many versions of Oliver Twist out there. I decided to use images from the musical interpretation of Oliver as it’s one of my favourite musicals.
a mermaid be waiting for you, in mysterious fathoms below