Ron Moody reviews the situation

Growing up in the pre-internet (and indeed pre-VCR) age, one could only see films when they were still in the theaters and so had only one or two chances. So a great performance would have to be savored in one’s memories. The arrival of the VCR and videocassettes changed all that, giving new life and new audiences to old films.

There are some films that I would like to see again in their entirety but for others, there are just one or two scenes that stick in my memory as worth watching again but getting the full film and searching for just those scenes is a little tedious. But now with YouTube one has the chance to do just that and once in a while I remember something from the past and am fortunate enough to find that someone has uploaded the clip.

All this is a preamble to say that a few days ago for some reason I recalled actor Ron Moody in the role of Fagin in the 1968 film Oliver! singing Reviewing the Situation, which I recalled as being the highlight of that film. And here is the clip that I found.


  1. Darryl Pickett says

    A brilliant performance. The whole film actually holds up just fine. (And it hasn’t got the noxious antisemitism of the source novel.) I don’t think there has been an HD release of it yet, but the major musical numbers fill the screen with an incredible amount of lively detail. And you are right, YouTube is a great way to revisit those media moments that haunt us all. I find myself looking up old TV ads for no other reason than that I want to be sure they really existed.

  2. left0ver1under says

    The galling thing for me is people’s incuriosity once the history of film became readily available thanks to VCRs and DVDs (or even downloads) . Most only want to see movies released during their own lifetime. They would rather watch the same mediocre movies again and again than see something new to them because it’s “old” – you can’t fully appreciate thrillers like “Silence Of The Lambs” without seeing “M”, the original creepfest. I’ve met people who saw and liked the last films of directors like John Frankenheimer and Stanley Kubrick, yet had no interest in seeing their earlier works. Oddly, the only people who actually do seem interested in and appreciate older movies are the fans of “B” movies – Romero and zombie movies, Roger Corman, “MST3K” watchers, et al.

    Digitization has made nearly everything available to people, yet few ever make any attempt to educate themselves about the progress and history of movies. One wouldn’t expect everyone to like or see everything, but how can someone call themselves a “movie buff” while being completely ignorant of Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, John Huston, Laurel and Hardy and so many others? How can they appreciate today’s “Hollywood star system” while being clueless about Fonda, Stewart, Gable, Grable, both Hepburns, etc.?

    As with books, music and history, many are completely oblivious and disinterested in things that happened or were made before their lifetime, no matter how important they were. Paul Begala once smacked down Meghan McCain for that sort of ignorance, yet many act as if ignorance was something to be proud of.

  3. starskeptic says

    Indeed, I’ve run into many people who consider themselves “movie buffs”, but have conditions on that such as “don’t do black-and-white films” or “no sub-titles” – which only indicates that they have no clue what “movie buff” even means.

  4. khms says

    I don’t know about movies (or tv), as I pretty much never watch any. However, I’ve personal experience with books: while there are lots of readable books older than I am, there seem to be very few readable (for me) books that are much older than I am. Even famous stuff very often turns out to be more of a chore than fun … I’ve started lots of old stuff and failed to finish it.

    I’m no literature expert, so I can only guess at the cause. At the very least, the ideas about how to construct a good tale seem to have changed a lot.

  5. Mano Singham says

    I agree. People who do not take this opportunity to watch some of the greta old films don’t know what they are missing.

  6. Mano Singham says

    It is quite extraordinary how color and subtitles seem to disappear when you get absorbed in a good film. There are so many occasions when later I cannot even recall if the film had subtitles or not.

  7. Jared A says

    I don’t know, this smacks of “kids these days” syndrome. I don’t know who these “most” are. I’m under 30, and I can’t think of a single one of my peers who wouldn’t list at least one “classic” film as a favorite. And that extends beyond the film buffs and intellectually-bent types.

    I felt less informed about movies than most of my peers in high school, but in those four years I was shown (inside and outside of the classroom) M, Nosferatu, Some Like It Hot, The Bridge on the River Kwai, It Happened One Night, most of the Marx Brothers corpus, Modern Times, Rebecca, Cool Hand Luke, Casablanca, What’s Up Doc, and so on (all made well before I was born). You didn’t have to go out of your way for this, it’s just part of the culture. Yeah, in terms of gossip and popular culture it was the current stuff that captured people’s attention (ugh, Titanic). But If anything, it was generally assumed that to find really good movies you had to go well back in time. It was precisely because of VHS that most of us grew up on movies that came out many decades before we were born (Snow White, Cinderella, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, etc.).

    A big thing that made Netflix popular in my generation was that you could get access to all sorts of movies you had heard of but never had a chance to see.

  8. Crudely Wrott says

    Due to a slow and unreliable web connection (heh! Just now the little balloon at the bottom of the screen popped up announcing that I was now connected to the InnerTubes. The connection obviously went away while reading this post and the comments. See what I mean?) I don’t try to watch many videos on line.

    Thankfully the local cable service has TCM, Turner Classic Movies. Right now I’m watching The Goodbye Girl for the very first time. Before that I saw my first screening of Victor/Victoria.

    In all, this has been a most entertaining evening.

    Thanks, Ted.

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