Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of this tuneful animated classic loosely based on Dickens’ Oliver Twist with a new Blu-Ray release. It is the story of an orphaned cat named Oliver (Joey Lawrence) who is befriended by vagabond dogs led by the the dashing rapscallion, Dodger (Billy Joel). Oliver is adopted by lonely rich girl Jenny (Natalie Gregory), whose prize-winning poodle, Georgette (voice of Bette Midler), has a world-class case of jealousy. First Oliver and then Jenny are kidnapped for ransom, but are saved from wicked Sikes (Robert Loggia) by the clever animals.
While not up there with the Disney classics, this movie has real pleasures, especially Dodger’s “Why Should I Worry” musical number (written and sung by Billy Joel) with Dodger leaping and dancing through Manhattan traffic and voice talent by Midler, Dom de Louise, Ruth Pointer, and Tommy “Cheech” Marin.”
There are also some scary moments, but kids will appreciate the way that Oliver takes care of himself, and the way that the dogs take care of him, of each other, and of their human friend, the hapless Fagin (voice of Dom DeLouise).
I have one copy to give away! Send me an email at email@example.com with “Oliver” in the subject line and tell me your favorite Billy Joel song. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only) I’ll pick a winner at random on August 14. Good luck!