*Tom Jones (1963)*

tomjones

Starring: Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, Diane Cilento, George Devine, David Warner (in his feature debut), Joyce Redman

Director: Tony Richardson

Summary: A country boy in 18th-century England becomes a playboy

Other Nominations: Director*, Actor (Finney), Supporting Actor (Griffith), Supporting Actress (Evans), Supporting Actress (Cilento), Supporting Actress (Redman), Adapted Screenplay*, Original Score*, Color Art Direction*

Positives

-Griffith and Evans had a lot of fun with their roles and were the most entertaining people in the movie; apparently, Griffith was dead drunk throughout the entire filming and almost died when his drunkenness led to him to fall of a horse (which was unplanned, but left in the movie).

-Some of the cinematography is interesting, especially the hand-held camera shots during the deer hunt scene

Negatives

-The pacing is brisk, which I like, but man there’s almost no story or characters here. The story is mostly based on around the escapades of the main character except for two bits (one in the middle and one at the end) that are the only times the plot moves forward in any appreciable way. I could stand this in a good light comedy, but it fails at that because it lacks any real charm, soul, wit or entertaining characters besides the two mentioned above. Tom Jones the character is basically a rapscallion who goes around sleeping a bunch of women when he finds out he can’t get married to the one he loves. He has no character building, growth or anything that makes him likable or all that interesting; York plays his true love and has zero personality. It’s a bawdy, unclever film that doesn’t have much more than that going for it.

-The movie tries to be hip and edgy by constantly reminding you that you’re watching a movie: the editing has many very obvious transitions, it breaks the 4th wall, the movie has a couple of sequences that are like a silent movie, there’s a lot of unnatural camera movement and there’s a Benny Hill chase scene in it. This could work in a different movie, but here it feels obnoxious most of the time and other movies have been much better doing similar things, such as the good Mel Brooks films.

Overall

Stylish but lacking in substance, heart, soul or wit. This is a movie that maybe felt new and different in its time, but has not aged well.

Rating: D+

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