Winner of four Academy Awards including best picture, director, screenplay, and music, this 1963 adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel is a rousing, bawdy comedy about a young man's ribald adventures in 18th-century... more » England. Albert Finney is splendidly hilarious in the title role of a charming womanizer who was discovered as an abandoned infant in the bed of Squire Allworthy, a wealthy landowner who named the child Tom Jones and raised him as his own. As a young man, Tom yearns for the comely daughter (Susannah York) of a neighboring squire, but his amorous adventures (including an extended food orgy that becomes the film's funniest scene) lead him to London and to a duel with a jealous husband. He's sentenced to hang, but fate intervenes. A hit around the world, the film was expertly written by noted playwright John Osborne, and director Tony Richardson uses a variety of old-style movie techniques to heighten the lusty, good-natured fun. Don't miss this one! --Jeff Shannon« less
Schuyler V. Johnson | Lake Worth, FL USA | 02/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this in the theatre when it was first released, and the passage of time has done nothing to dim my love and fascination of this superb translation of the novel by Fielding. Of course, Albert Finney made a very dashing Tom Jones, and wqas so perfectly suited to the role; Susannah York great as his true love, Sophie, and the other roles, Hugh Griffith as Sophie's father, and hilarious in his part as a drunken, boisterous, lusty squire, and Dame Edith Evans as his rather disapproving, but very funny sister, reprimanding him with a trilling "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrother...." while he is wrestling some country maidens in the haystacks, straw in his hair and a pack of bulldogs surrounding him. The dinner scene with him eating a roast chicken with great gusto, so much so that he harangues Sophie with pieces of it in his nose, is delightful, as is his unscripted departure from Squire Allworthy's residence, on his horse, and turning so tightly that the horse rears and collapses with Hugh Griffith on top of him...so funny Richardson wisely decided to keep it in the film.
I also appreciated the performances of David Warner, as the disgustingly priggish tutor, Mr. Bliful, and Diane Cilento (once married to Sean Connery...) as Tom's sometime paramour. The entire cast is excellent, including Joan Greenwood as the predatory older woman after Tom at any cost. Watch for the Masquerade Ball and see Hugh Griffith in his elephant mask; what a great scene!
The peripheral players are superb, as is the setting of London in the eighteenth century, with the deplorable lack of sanitary conditions and the terrible poverty. The music is haunting, the scene at the Inn (yes, the food scene, of course, one of the more outstanding in the movie) but also the frenetic byplay of the characters winding up in each other's beds with different wives and lovers, it is such a classic melange of humor, drama and near tragedy, there simply isn't one moment of bad film or minute of tedium...you will be absorbed all the way through, and enjoy this rambunctious, joyful frolic with Tom and his supporting cast of finely drawn characters. One last comment: The scene of Tom and Sophie, running, taking turns rowing a boat and falling in love on the grounds of her father's estate, is absolutely beautiful; watch for the scene of them picking blossoms and Sophie laughing and the blossoms falling into her mouth; very sensual and exquisitely detailed, as is the entire production."
ONE OF THE TOP TEN WORST LOOKING DVD TRANSFERS EVER!
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 04/26/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Albert Finney is the scandalous "Tom Jones", a squire of young ladies with nothing on their mind but sex. This is the bawdy, gaudy tale of Tom's romantic prowess and how he became the chambermaid's delight. It's told in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion and celebrated with a lustfully playful score and winning cameo performances throughout. Susannah York crops up as the playful Sophie Western, one of Tom?s many conquests, much to the chagrin of her stoic and stalwart father (Hugh Griffith).MGM's DVD is one of the worst looking efforts of digital mastering on the market. Where to begin? Colors are muted, dated, unbalanced and bleed throughout. Contrast levels are so low that night scenes look as though they were shot using only the light coming off of a flashlight with dying batteries. Flesh tones are way too orange. Fidelity in general is a mess. Edge enhancement, pixelization, aliasing and shimmering of fine details are excessive and present throughout the film. Digital and film grain are excessively high. There's really no instance where one can simply sit back and enjoy the film. The audio is a disappointing mono. Considering that the previously issued DVD (exhibiting the same disappointing picture quality) was remastered in "surround sound" the lack of surround on this disc seems odd. There are no extras.
BOTTOM LINE: Don't waste your money."
Nicely Naughty Vintage Fun!
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 05/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many years, Tom Jones was my absolute favourite film. My views have mellowed and my tastes changed somewhat, but I still enjoy seeing it every now and then. It's like an old friend. Although, I will admit, it is one of those films that viewers either love or hate.Even though the story is set in the England of the early 1700's, the film is solidly a reflection of the 1960's. It was extremely popular when it came out - winning the Academy Award as best film. Audiences were overwhelmed by its bawdy humour, sinning and sinful characters, and endless camera trickery - all briskly paced and accompanied by a rollicking musical score. Director Tony Richardson threw everything into the mix - speeded up film, freeze frames, screen wipes, character asides to the audience, a lip-smacking narrator, even a silent movie opening sequence. The characters looked like real people instead of actors - the costumes and settings actually looked lived in. John Osborne's script contained dialogue with a proper period flavour (too much so occasionally) and the whole thing was photographed with a subdued, grainy quality not unlike an old painting. In fact, Tom Jones is almost two films in one - the first part rustic, earthy and halcyon on the sprawling estates of Squires Western and Allworthy, then an abrupt change of style to the intimidating Hogarthian squalour of London where danger seemed to lurk behind every corner. Newgate Gaol and a public hanging are uncompromisingly realistic for what is, after all, basically a comedy.Most memorable of all are the performances. Albert Finney as Tom and pert Susannah York as his one true love are suitably attractive and talented. But the real flavour of this feast is provided by one of the most incredible supporting casts ever assembled for such a film. Hugh Griffith shamelessly steals every scene he's in but the haughty Edith Evans is more than a match for him. Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and the incomparable Joan Greenwood give plenty of variety to Tom's sex life, while David Warner, Julian Glover, and Peter Bull lead the villains.I have never read the Henry Fielding novel on which the film is based and have no intention of ever doing so. The film of Tom Jones is more than capable of standing on its own. Its style, like its setting, may seem like a relic from the distant past. But, in many ways, Tom Jones represents the high point of British film making in the Sixties - an achievement the Brits have rarely equalled since. More than that, Tom Jones is an immensely enjoyable film - it is fun! And that is something we can never have too much of."
Great Picture, Horrible Transfer
Frank Dudley Berry, Jr. | Mountain View, Ca USA | 03/08/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Pay attention to this review if no other. `Tom Jones' is a terrific movie, in my humble opinion. But this DVD version is one of the worst transfers you'll ever find. It is missing at least three minutes of of footage from the original, including one key scene where Lady Bellingham encourages Lord Whoever to rape Sophie. In the original, the scene is cool, elegant, and evlil. It's missing here, maybe for politically correct reasons, and the edit chops with incredible crudeness directly from Lady Bellingham sipping tea to the lord to that gentleman unaccountably attacking Sophie. The result is that a lof of subsequent plot makes no sense at all. That alone would justify giving this one the miss, but the transfer is also hazy and unfocused, and may even have been made from a VHS tape. MGM Enterntainment is bringing out a new version on 6/19/2001. Wait for that if you have any sense."
A fun romp
Cowboy Buddha | 10/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very 1960s version of Henry Fielding's great novel... if you're looking for an authentic feel of 18th century social mores, don't look here. However, given that, it's actually a great translation of a very funny story... and the modernized humor reaches to 20th century audiences perhaps better than a literal reading of Fielding's teasing of then-current novel-fads. No swooning of knock-kneed lovers here, Albert Finney and Susannah York are as bright-eyed and spunky a romantic pair as any filmed. They are entirely believable as exactly the right adorable two to end up together after the hysterical tangle of Tom Jones' life is sorted out. A really fun movie and a very witty story. Read the book too!"