Friday, July 25, 2008
Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963) C- (x2)
I've never read the source novel by Henry Fielding (and I probably never will) but I suspect that, as with many novel to film adaptations, the screenwriters had a tough time condensing multiple story lines and subplots and a myriad of characters into a two hour film. Tom Jones feels oddly disconnected to me because none of the subplots seem to add up and are often dropped without a moment's notice. Plus, Richardson's stale British New Wave tricks, which I'm sure were positively retro-chic back in 1963, feel completely dated. I also couldn't get over how misogynistic the whole film was. Tom is allowed to roam the countryside, fucking whoever he wants, but someone like Molly is considered a slut for doing the same. It simply isn't right, especially when I'd rather be following these fascinating women instead of Tom. Albert Finney's casting here is a complete mystery since he isn't exactly the type of good-looker that would turn the ladies' heads nor does he really do anything interesting with the role. If nothing else, I would really love to see the women get more material to work with-- Susannah York especially, who was so good in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and definitely could have handled more oomph to her tireless romantic lead.