David Lean followed his take on Great Expectations with another Charles Dickens adaptation: Oliver Twist, which curiously feels like the older movie. The first section in particular—tracing the death of Oliver’s mother shortly after giving birth to him, as well as his early years in a children’s workhouse—employs the visual economy of silent cinema, with dramatic lighting and broad emotions meant to delineate the narrative (there are even title sections that draw on text from the novel). It’s less impressionistic than Great Expectations and more starkly insistent—fitting for a work that doubles as a social tract about the mistreatment of children in England in the early 1800s. John Howard Davies, as Oliver, has a heartbreakingly fresh face, one that’s increasingly bewildered by the cruelty continually visited upon him. Alec Guinness appears as the infamous Fagin, the Jewish overseer of a gang of boy thieves, and it’s easy to see why the performance was controversial. With his outrageously elongated nose, heavy makeup, and garbled speech, he’s part evil dwarf and part gargoyle.