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's 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
In the scene where Tom Jones and Sophie Western are riding around on various horses within a barnyard area, one of the barn sheds in the background has an area of its roof repaired with corrugated iron. The story was set in the mid-1700s but corrugated iron wasn't invented until the 1820s. See more »
In the west of England there was once a Squire Allworthy. After several months in London he returns home.
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Opening credits: In the west of England there was once a Squire Allworthy. After several months in London he returned home. his sister, Bridget. his servants. after supper. "Mrs. Wilkins!" "aaah!" a baby! abandoned!!! "how did it get here?" "who can the mother be?" "Jenny Jones!" "who is the father Jenny?" "send for Partridge the barber!" Partridge the barber - the father? "I will deal with you later, sir!" "you must be sent away from this shame and degradation." "as for your child . . . . . " "I will bring him up as if he were my own son." "what will you call him brother?" "Tom Jones." of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged.
For the 1989 reissue/restoration, the director trimmed approx. 7 minutes from the original. The initial home video release in 1981 on the Magnetic Video label contains the full-length original, which includes the following footage/dialogue cut from the reissue:
Tom running from Squire Western; Black George caught for killing sheep; trial
Sophie: "Oh, my little bird."
Molly being called a slut by her family: "You will have a bastard"
Tom/Sophie montage: Tom reading, eating nuts, picking berries, Tom and Sophie singing
Teachers fighting Tom; Tom going around tree; riding teacher
Tom's dream at the Inn
Sophie and Lady Fitzpatrick: Trimmed frames from laughing
Sophie and Lady Fitzpatrick: "What will you do in London?" "I have a friend..."
Sophie and Lady Fitzpatrick: "What about your friend?" "He is away for a few days. When he returns we shall make other arrangements."
Lady Bellaston and Lady Fitzpatrick: "The girl is obviously intoxicated and nothing less than ruin will content her."
Lady Bellaston muttering French phrase at dinner
Lady Bellaston: Dialog after "Are you afraid of the word 'rape'?"
Transition from Bellaston and Fellamore to Tom and Partridge
Transition from Tom and Partridge to "Rape"
Partridge and Tom: "She'll be the one to break it off"; transition to note; dialog: Narrator reads letter, Bellaston remarks to maid not to receive Tom Jones again.
"Scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."; transition
Partridge looking for people to uphold Tom's character (in the original he approaches one man, then two more - scene of him approaching the first man was cut)
No reprise of song for Tom as he's going to be hanged
End titles (re-done for reissue with restoration credits and extended music by 15 seconds, while cutting some of the original company credits)
Lyric beauty, bawdy humor and adventure set to celluloid and music.
In 1963 two of the most important productions in the history of movie making were released. The first was: "Cleopatra" with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, a cast as long as the Manhattan telephone directory and a budget bigger than the combined egos of the stars. "Cleopatra" was a total disaster. It has no redeeming quality that I know of. It is therefore important for embodying in one film, nearly everything that you can do wrong in making a movie. It is a movie that you must see if you are ever to understand what a truly good film really is. The second was: "Tom Jones" with Albert Finney and Susannah York, shot with rented equipment and costumes on the streets of London with a supporting cast of brilliant British ensemble players and extras who stood-in just to get in a film. Tom Jones is simply one of the best motion pictures of all time, for my money, The Best from Literature.
John Osborne who wrote the screen play produced a marvelous vehicle, but the genius of "Tom Jones" is Tony Richardson. He moves the actors and the story about the screen with a bawdy grace and earthy gentility that paints action and raucous laughter and beauty across one another with an even hand. It is a glimpse of antiquity so close and real that we can nearly touch it, and it makes us want to. (Though to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure we'd care for the smell of it.)
"Tom Jones" is a low budget, low tech, high quality film that must win the award for the "Most with the Least." The photography is beautiful, not because it used a dozen half million dollar cameras, it is beautiful because it is good photography. The acting wins out, and casts of thousands would only serve to clutter the stage. See this film whenever, wherever and as often as you possibly can.
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