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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
A fun and fresh screen adaption of British writer Henry Fielding's 18th Century novel of the same name, made at the threshold of the swinging (19)Sixties. Like the original story's French counterpart (Les Liaisons Dangereuses=Dangerous Liaisons), at its heart is a mannered metropolitan love triangle.
But before we arrive in the heart of London the stage is set amidst the lush green English countryside in Summer. Here we first meet the protagonist, Tom Jones, played by Albert Finney in his most youthful bloom, and his extended family representing every facet of post-Glorious Revolution England.
An incorrigible ne'er-do-well, Tom's genuine love for his neighbor Squire Alworthy's daughter Sophie (a very lovely Susannah York), takes him to the heart of fashionable London society in a series of comedic wrong-turns and misunderstandings. Here he becomes embroiled in the games of the jaded aristocrat Lady Bellaston played by Joan Greenwood. Greenwood steals the show as the original Mrs. Robinson and, through her machinations, Tom is led to the gallows. But at the last minute...
Throughout the movie is paced with a modern sense of realism, made effective by hand-held camera sequences and the quick editing of Antony Gibbs. Old-fashioned film techniques are used effectively with eye-to-the-camera realism, and convey an up-to-date feel. There are moments of beauty as well as comedy in this very satisfying entertainment. The cast is stellar with many familiar names--Hugh Griffith, Rachel Kempson, David Warner (in his first movie), the settings realistic, and the the musical score a perfect fit. A great time overall!
An interesting note, supposedly this is the last movie seen by John F. Kennedy (in a White House screening) before he was assassinated.
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