In eighteenth century England, "first cousins" Tom Jones and Master Blifil grew up together in privilege in the western countryside, but could not be more different in nature. Tom, the ... See full summary »
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War,... See full summary »
Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet,... See full summary »
Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows ... See full summary »
In eighteenth century England, "first cousins" Tom Jones and Master Blifil grew up together in privilege in the western countryside, but could not be more different in nature. Tom, the bastard son of one of Squire Allworthy's servants Jenny Jones and the local barber Partridge, was raised by virtuous Allworthy as his own after he sent Jenny away. Tom is randy, chasing anything in a skirt, he having a sexual relationship on the sly with Molly Seagrim, the peasant daughter of Allworthy's gamekeeper. Tom is nonetheless kind-hearted and good-natured, he who is willing to defend that and those in which he believes. Blifil, on the other hand, is dour, and although outwardly pious, is cold-hearted and vengeful. Despite his randiness, Tom eventually falls in love with Sophie Western, who has just returned to the area after a few years abroad. Despite Sophie's love for Tom, Squire Western and his spinster sister would rather see Sophie marry Blifil rather than a bastard, who Western ... Written by
Thirty Seven years later.......it remains a splendid piece of art
Just two hundred years after Henry Fielding's novel appeared, the theatre-actor-turned-cinema-director Sir Tony Richardson rounded up a few Shakespearean-trained prodigees, got John Addison to compose hectic clavichord accompaniment a little in the style of Handel operas and set all this against lush photography to produce one of the most hilarious films of the last five hundred years. Fielding's novel which is a most definite recommendation rather cynically but good-humouredly exposed mid-eighteenth century British hypocrisy at its best and the landed gentry's obsession for fox-hunting at its worst. Richardson directed all this a bit like an elderly Sir Thomas Beecham ('the important thing is we all start and stop together; nobody notices what happens in between') raising his baton in front of the London Symphony Orchestra: the result in both cases is astounding. Richardson conducts his piece at a tremendous pace, Addison's clavichord tripping along gaily so as to keep up the illusion, and visual sequences such as a young trouserless Albert Finney escaping out of a window, shinning down a tree and running off into the nocturnal depths of a beech forest, all combine to keep you breathlessly awaiting the next scene. Susannah York is just delicious, with that innocent facial beauty that raises heartbeats, especially in the latter parts; and Angela Baddely as Mrs. Wilkins and Diane Cilento as Molly play some great scenes. And some of the great scenes are worth telling...... Tom and Mrs. Wilkins enjoy a good roast with fruit, eating lusciously and lascivously, eating each other up with their sparkling eyes: this scene is hugely delightful. The other great scene is the fox-hunt: this alone puts the whole film into a special category: brilliant film-making, almost comparable to the famous chariot race in Ben Hur........ I loved this film 37 years ago, and recently had the luck to see it again: having doubled my years, I was just as enthralled and enraptured as the first time. A splendid piece of art.
36 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?