Feb. 7 marked the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’s birth and the world is celebrating, including here in East Hampton, where the Hamptons International Film Festival will screen David Lean’s “Oliver Twist” on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Guild Hall.
The event will be hosted by Alec Baldwin, a festival board member, and he will be joined in conversation after the film by Jon Robin Baitz, a playwright whose acclaimed “Other Desert Cities” is now on Broadway. He is also the creator of the television show “Brothers and Sisters.” They will discuss literary adaptations.
David Lean, who made such epic films as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago,” made two Dickens adaptations, the first being “Great Expectations” in 1946, followed by “Oliver Twist” in 1948. According to the film festival, this version features “stunningly expressive cinematography by Guy Green” and a “searing performance” by Robert Newton as Bill Sikes.
For those unfamiliar with the tale, it is about an orphan who runs away from a workhouse and is taken in by a London pickpocket who introduces him to a world where young boys are exploited in the service of the master thief Fagin, played by Alec Guinness.
“Lean has an affinity for all aspects of what might be required to bring Dickens’s characters to the screen,” Mr. Baldwin said in a release. He chose the film with David Nugent, the director of programming for the festival. According to the newspaper The Guardian, Lean’s adaptation cut much of the dialogue and authorial voice of the book and with it Dickens’s satirical intent. The film’s visual qualities appear to make up for that loss, however.
Ticket cost $17, $15 for Guild Hall members.
Also on Saturday, Mr. Baldwin will read from “Oliver Twist” at BookHampton’s East Hampton location at 2 p.m.