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Far from the Madding Crowd

( 8 )

Overview

This 1967 version of Thomas Hardy's novel should have done better at the box office than it did, given the star power of Julie Christie and the visual and aural fidelity to its source material. Julie Christie plays Bathsheba Everdene, a country heiress who is loved by three different men: Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates. Convinced that she is the intellectual superior of all three, Bathesheba loses many early opportunities for lasting happiness. Finally shedding herself of her haughty attitude, ...
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Overview

This 1967 version of Thomas Hardy's novel should have done better at the box office than it did, given the star power of Julie Christie and the visual and aural fidelity to its source material. Julie Christie plays Bathsheba Everdene, a country heiress who is loved by three different men: Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates. Convinced that she is the intellectual superior of all three, Bathesheba loses many early opportunities for lasting happiness. Finally shedding herself of her haughty attitude, Bathsheba unconditionally accepts the love of Bates. The euphoric exuberance of Nicolas Roeg's photography is matched by the direction of John Schlesinger and the screenplay by Frederick Raphael. Only the nittiest of nitpickers would complain that some of the medium shots don't match the closeups watch Terence Stamp's clown makeup in one scene.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Praised by critics but shunned by audiences, this 1967 British film captures the brooding beauty of the English countryside and the young woman it sometimes symbolizes, Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie). Christie's character is a young woman courted by two rustics and a dashing soldier, whose fates hang by the thread of her caprice and charm. As she works her way from immature fixation on dashing Terence Stamp (Sgt. Troy of Her Majesty's Dragoon Guards) to mature love for Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak, an unassuming farmer she earlier rejected, the cinematography, the musical score and the splendid acting perform in synergy to make the most of the unfolding drama. Based faithfully on Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel of the same name, the film showcases nature as it mocks or mimics the emotions of the characters through gloomy fog, gnarled roots, and the blush of a setting sun. Director John Schlesinger's original wide-screen version of the film aptly frames the community in which these characters live, the fictional county of Wessex, which is the real-life county of Dorsetshire, Hardy's home. Located in southern England near the English Channel, Wessex is a remote little paradise, "far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife," as poet Thomas Gray described such a place in his "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." But strife does visit Wessex; it arrives in the form of jealousy, cruelty, unrequited desire and a shocking murder, all of which churn maelstroms in the souls of Christie, Bates, Stamp and Peter Finch, a wealthy farmer who is Christie's third suitor. Bates, Stamp and Finch are especially good as they vie for and interact with Christie. In the end, calm returns to Wessex as the characters return to "the noiseless tenor of their way." Richard Rodney Bennet won an Academy Award nomination for his haunting music score, and the film itself earned a place as No. 79 on The British Film Institute's List of top 100 films. It is an honor it richly deserves.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/1998
  • UPC: 027616660237
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Warner)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Julie Christie Bathsheba Everdene
Terence Stamp Sgt. Troy
Peter Finch William Boldwood
Alan Bates Gabriel Oak
Prunella Ransome Fanny Robin
Fiona Walker Liddy
Paul Dawkins Henry Fray
Andrew Robertson Andrew Randle
Julian Somers Jan Coggan
Pauline Melville Mrs. Tall
Vincent Harding Mark Clark
Laurence Carter Laban Tall
Margaret Lacey Maryann Money
Harriet Harper Temperance
Denise Coffey Soberness
Brian Rawlinson Matthew Moon
John Garrie Pennyways
Owen Berry Old Smallbury
Michael Beint Laborer
John Barrett Joseph Poorgrass
Bryan Mosley Barker
Alison Leggatt Mrs. Hurst
Freddie Jones Cainy Ball
Derek Ware Corporal
Peter Stone Teddy Coggan
Jonathan Newth Gentleman at Cockfight
Peggy Ann Clifford Fat lady at Circus
Alba Gentleman at Party
Frank Duncan Farmer at Corn Exchange
Hugh Walker Farmer at Corn Exchange
Technical Credits
John Schlesinger Director
Alan Barrett Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Rodney Bennett Score Composer
Malcolm Cooke Editor
Marcus Dods Musical Direction/Supervision
Joseph Janni Producer
Richard MacDonald Production Designer
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
Frederic Raphael Screenwriter
Nicolas Roeg Cinematographer
Roy Forge Smith Art Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Forgotten Classic

    It's a difficult sort of movie to explain, but what's great about it is that it isn't black and white where the main characters are concerned- but then, I don't thnink Thomas Hardy is a fan of the good guy-bad guy storylines. That said, it doesn't end in a giant cloud of moral ambiguity, but it does give the characters reasons for having behaved in certain ways, particularly Bathesheba. It's beautifully shot, as well, and beautifully scored. While I originally felt some scenes could have been shortened for time, if you read the book first, and pay attention to the title, it becomes a sort of necessity (excepting the sword skills scene). Great movie. I don't know why it doesn't get more attention.

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    Posted January 18, 2009

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews