Tom Jones (1963)

TONY RICHARDSON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

United Kingdom, 1963.  Woodfall Film Productions. Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1963.  Golden Globe Awards 1963National Board of Review Awards 1963.  New York Film Critics Awards 1963.

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.

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