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Tom Jones

Henry Fielding’s massive 1749 novel is condensed into a two-hour rollicking comedy. Tom Jones (Albert Finney) is a randy, dashing lad of dubious lineage, who has been raised as his own by the taciturn Squire Allworthy (George Devine). Tom’s romantic misadventures get him into increasing trouble. His favourite paramour is Sophie (Susannah York), the headstrong daughter of gregarious, hunting-obsessed Squire Western (Hugh Griffith). As adapted by playwright John Osborne (Look Back in Anger) and director Tony Richardson (A Taste of Honey), Tom Jones emerged as a surprise critical and commercial success (it won four Oscars). The film-makers’ sympathy for the rebel hero and their identification with the novel’s criticism of hypocrisy and humbug were to be expected. What surprised was the film’s humour and colourful extravagance, together with the successful use of a modern styleoslapstick comedy, captions, narration, speeded-up actionoin a period classic.
U.K., 1963. Colour. 128 min.

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