Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tom Jones

Tom Jones, 1963
Directed by Tony Richardson
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 4
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium), Best Music (Score)

Tom Jones is a bastard, but was raised by Squire Allworthy as his own son after the Squire sent away Tom's parents (a servant girl and the local barber). And this story is basically about how Tom keeps getting into trouble because he's slept with someone. Tom has sexual relationship with a local girl, Molly, on the sly, while he is falling in love with Sophie Western, who has just returned from a few years abroad. They have to hide their relationship since Tom is a bastard and Sohpie knows her parents won't approve. Indeed, Sophie's mother tries to fix Sohpie up with Tom's dour and unpleasant cousin, Blifil. After Blifil's mother dies in an accident, Blifil and some friends convince the Squire that Tom is quite the villain, and sends him away. Much adventures follow Tom as he makes his way to London. Some involving the army, many involving pretty and promiscuous women.

 This movie, quite frankly, was quite bizarre. The first few minutes of the film, of when the Squire finds baby Tom in his bed and sends his parents away, are done in the style of a silent film, using title cards and everything. And while the rest of the movie uses sound, it often uses odd transitions, has characters breaking the 4th wall and addressing the audience, and even Tom put his hat over the camera lens to transition a scene. While the film is no doubt a comedy, these techniques are often odd, but I can't really say that didn't fit in with the film, really. All around the film was odd and quirky.

However, I didn't find the film overly entertaining or amusing. Admittedly the first 15 minutes or so I was having connection problems and had to switch where I was watching this film online, but still. Albert Finney did a great job as Tom but little else about the movie was very good at all. It's not the type of film I could ever, ever seeing winning nowadays, and it's very different from anything else that's won before or after. The film seemed to stay at surface level with all the characters so there was not really any depth or tons of ways to connect with these quirky characters.

The story itself was quite stupid and silly, and was surprisingly sexual for it's time, especially since the Hays Code was still technically in effect (though crumbling at this point). There were way too many silly characters and it seemed like none of them had very much common sense about them. Tom is constantly getting himself into trouble by either sleeping with someone or having other people think he did. The film was kind of all over the place, story wise, and I'm not sure if I was just bored and not paying full attention, but things and problems seemed to pop up randomly.

There's not much else to say about the film except it was quite silly and boring, and I can understand why it was so hard for me to find a copy to watch (and why it's like $50 on Amazon). The film is quirky and odd, and very strange. It's not a film I really ever need to watch again.

Acting- 7.5/10 
Directing- 7/10 
Screenplay- 5/10 
Visuals- 8/10 
Music- 6/10 
Emotional Connection- 5/10 
Entertainment- 5/10 
Rewatchability- 4/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 5.5/10 
Overall Package- 6/10       

Total: 59/100

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