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 ...
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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 »
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's 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
The hunting scene posed special problems because the local hunters refused to cooperate, assuming the film would take an anti-hunting approach. The crew had to comb the countryside to find hounds people were willing to sell or rent. Tony Richardson wanted to show the dogs tearing into the deer at the end, so the crew tried to keep the hounds hungry, as is the custom in hunting. The local huntsmen, getting wind of the schedule, broke into the kennel the night before and fed the dogs heartily. When it came time to film the scene, all the dogs would do was sniff at the carcass of the dead deer the crew had bought. They had to re-shoot the scene three days later. Then the crew stuffed the carcass with beef liver to get the dogs to attack. See more »
In the hunt scene, you can clearly see that the riders are following on a path made by automobiles. The path has tire tracks all along. See more »
In the west of England there was once a Squire Allworthy. After several months in London he returns home.
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Opening credits: In the west of England there was once a Squire Allworthy. After several months in London he returned home. his sister, Bridget. his servants. after supper. "Mrs. Wilkins!" "aaah!" a baby! abandoned!!! "how did it get here?" "who can the mother be?" "Jenny Jones!" "who is the father Jenny?" "send for Partridge the barber!" Partridge the barber - the father? "I will deal with you later, sir!" "you must be sent away from this shame and degradation." "as for your child . . . . . " "I will bring him up as if he were my own son." "what will you call him brother?" "Tom Jones." of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged.
This is an adaptation of a large book, a Henry Fielding novel. In the early 1700's the growing middle class in Europe, especially in the British Empire, became literate. As an entertainment to get through the long hours of new leisure, novels flew from the printing presses. Tom Jones was a hit from the first. It was a bawdy tale with amusing detail. It is lucky that an experienced playwright like John Osborne was assigned the screenplay and double lucky that a fine director, Tony Richardson brought the tale to life.
Indeed, Richardson is a poet with the lush English countryside. Since much of the film depicts Tom Jones' amorous adventures in the grass with Molly Seagram, the peasant wench, on a skiff with the Squire's daughter, Sophie, in the tavern with Mrs.Wilkens, and in the suites of a countess, the bawdy adventures spin by as food shoots from the mouths of lovers. There are also duels, a misunderstanding about the linage of the Jones baby, and an unwanted suitor for the lovely Sophie, Susan York.
I saw this film as a teen in 1963 and it telegraphed a new sense of modernism and sexual freedom without pretense that is ironic since Fielding's story was hundreds of years old on the eve of the Beatles and the swinging London of the 60's.
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