For those who are only familiar with the iconic film version of Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, this was the most genuinely menacing of the show’s half-a-dozen Villain Songs, which establishes the character of the dreaded Bill Sykes. It’s a harsh, brutal, terrifying piece of music that reminds one that Oliver! did not soften Dickens’ original material quite as much as some people like to think. That said, even though the film version made a habit of dropping some of the most interesting songs from the show (“That’s Your Funeral”, “I Shall Scream”), I understand why this one had to be cut. For one thing, Bill Sykes is played in the film by distinguished actor Oliver Reed, and, as anyone who’s seen the film version of Tommy knows, Reed is one of the most embarrassingly terrible singers ever to appear in any kind of musical. But beyond that basic necessity, Reed’s decision to play Sykes as though he were in a straight dramatization of Charles Dickens meant that the act of singing a song, even one this harsh and abrasive, would have been uncomfortably out of place for this interpretation of the character…and since Reed’s Sykes was one of the most terrifying performances ever given in any movie, that decision was probably a wise one, even if it cost the show one of its most interesting songs.