Oliver & Company

Disney’s all-animated version of Oliver Twist (1988) translates Dickens’s novel into animal adventures set in New York: Oliver is an orphaned kitten taken in by a pack of pickpocket dogs, although Fagin, no longer Jewish or a villain, remains human. Ethnic characters are restricted to the animal kingdom, and the most enjoyable of these is Tito, a Chihuahua whose appeal is almost wholly a function of Cheech Marin’s voice. (Bette Midler similarly dominates Georgette, an upper-class poodle.) The animation is fairly unexciting though serviceable, and the overall mystification of class difference would probably have made Dickens shudder, but kids should find this tolerable enough. George Scribner directed, and among the other voices used are those of Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Roscoe Lee Browne, Dom DeLuise (as Fagin), and Robert Loggia. (JR)

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