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Masses & Mainstream
September, 1951, p. 20

On "Oliver Twist"

Howard Fast

MANY things have already been said about the British motion picture, Oliver Twist. They require less of restatement than summation. That the picture is a callous and deliberate attack upon the Jewish people is no longer doubted; sufficient people in New York have been beguiled into the Park Avenue Theatre and have sat there in unbelieving horror to make a word of mouth judgment a matter of fact. Nor is it a case of anti-Semitism in a film, if one conceives of such a thing; quite to the contrary, this is an anti-Semitic film. Its heart and substance are carved out of pathological and typically Hitlerian hatred of Jews.
It is a vile, nasty, and monstrously bad film - and I for one will have no part of the sickly "artistic" praise that is being showered upon it.
More to the point: How is it that this unspeakable film is being shown daily in a large theatre in that city which has more Jewish population that any other in the world? And out of that question, another: How is it that the protest is almost completely confined to the Left?
I would want the "comfortable" Jews of my city to ponder the Judenrat role of Bernard Baruch, Judge Irving Kaufman, Prosecutor Irving Saypol. You have heard it said - oh, so frequently - "They will leave the Jews alone here." Will they? Is that why Oliver Twist is being shown?
We call for a mass campaign against this film - Jew and gentile, Negro and white together - to make it plain that our country shall not become a Hitler Germany.