Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1963. Woodfall Film Productions. Screenplay by John Osborne, based on the novel by Henry Fielding. Cinematography by Walter Lassally. Produced by Tony Richardson. Music by John Addison. Production Design by Ralph W. Brinton. Costume Design by John McCorry. Film Editing by Antony Gibbs.
Deliciously bawdy adaptation of Henry Fielding’s popular 19th-century novel about a handsome rogue (Albert Finney) who runs amok seducing women and infuriating jealous husbands. Along the way he also manages to find out the truth behind his parentage, including the events that led up to his being orphaned as an infant and raised by a proper English gentleman. Finney is irrepressibly sexy as the lead, and his food orgy scene where he is seduced through the eating of fruit is one of the film’s most memorable moments. It succeeds so well because after all these years its attitude seems so modern; director Tony Richardson uses the period setting only as a background, never allowing the plush costume details to bog down the witty conversations or frank, timeless relationships between characters. Very enjoyable, probably the high point of Richardson’s directorial career and the kickstart of Finney’s.
The Criterion Collection: #910
Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Director (Tony Richardson); Best Music Score-Substantially Original; Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominations: Best Actor (Albert Finney); Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith); Best Supporting Actress (Diane Cilento); Best Supporting Actress (Dame Edith Evans); Best Supporting Actress (Joyce Redman); Best Art Direction-Colour
Golden Globe Award: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy
Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Albert Finney); Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith); Best Supporting Actress (Joan Greenwood); Best Director (Tony Richardson)
Venice Film Festival Award: Best Actor (Albert Finney)