Tom Jones

Tom Jones

3.0 2
Director: Tony Richardson, Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith

Cast: Tony Richardson, Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith

     
 

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A dozen years after Tony Richardson's Tom Jones was re-released in a restored version, it's finally shown up in a home-video edition worth owning. The laserdisc edition from HBO/Warner, based on the 1989 re-release (which Richardson shortened by seven minutes), suffered from a washed out, grainy image that hardly seemed to have been restored, and scarcely

Overview

A dozen years after Tony Richardson's Tom Jones was re-released in a restored version, it's finally shown up in a home-video edition worth owning. The laserdisc edition from HBO/Warner, based on the 1989 re-release (which Richardson shortened by seven minutes), suffered from a washed out, grainy image that hardly seemed to have been restored, and scarcely looked better than the early-'80s Magnetic Video laserdisc, which was under license from UA, and very disappointing. The MGM/UA DVD, released in June 2001, supplants the HBO edition, re-establishing the film's original cut in a bright new transfer that overcomes all the shortcomings of the laserdisc version. The picture isn't perfect -- it's still a bit soft, but the grain that marred the laserdisc transfer is gone, replaced by deep, solid colors. The sound is also cleaner and sharper than the laserdisc, which brings out the almost nonstop humor in John Addison's delightful score. The film has been issued as part of MGM's Vintage Classics line, which is a stripped down, low-priced series, cheaper in fact than the earlier HBO DVD edition of the 1989 re-release version of the movie; this also means that there are no extras, which is shoddy treatment for a movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture and put a brace of important new cinematic talent on the map in the early '60s. Additionally, the 129-minute movie could have been broken down into more chapters than the paltry 15 we get here. The only bonus is an original trailer, which itself points up a certain irony -- Tom Jones was originally distributed by United Artists, which made a fortune off of the movie but never kept any proper preservation materials on it, thus making necessary the late-'80s restoration that was issued through the Samuel Goldwyn Company. But MGM/UA's acquisition of the Goldwyn library returned the movie to the hands of United Artists, the same company that didn't take care of it in the first place.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A bawdy, exuberant adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic 18th century novel, Tom Jones bears the enviable contradiction of being a timeless period piece. Boasting both a uniformly excellent cast and a screenplay by John Osborne that remains one of the cinema's most successful literary hatchet jobs, the film ushered in a new era for British cinema. Its unabashed commercialism (which had to be financed by United Artists after its subject matter was deemed too outré by British financiers) was key to the subsequent influx of American dollars into the British film industry, and it signaled the effective end of the darker, more politicized English Free Cinema movement. The film was a landmark for a number of other reasons, first and foremost director Tony Richardson's presentation of the subject matter. Presaging MTV-style film direction by at least three decades, Richardson directed his film with impressive speed, employing rapid cuts, frequent breaking-down of the fourth wall, and a pace breathless enough to make audiences forget that they were watching what had been a 1000-page novel. Notable, too, was the fact that a story set two centuries ago could ring so true with a contemporary audience. The depiction of Tom's libidinous past was marked by the sort of carefree, liberated attitude that would soon become one of the defining attributes of the film's era. Moreover, it featured one of the most memorable demonstrations of the link between food and sex ever committed to celluloid, giving new meaning to the term "human appetite." With so many lasting qualities to say nothing of a star-making performance by a young and dashing Albert Finney it is little surprise that Tom Jones has stood the test of time as one of the 20th century's most enjoyable cinematic achievements. Rebecca Flint

Product Details

Release Date:
06/19/2001
UPC:
0027616862976
Original Release:
1963
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
2:09:00

Special Features

Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Albert Finney Tom Jones
Susannah York Sophie Western
Hugh Griffith Squire Western
Edith Evans Miss Western
Joan Greenwood Lady Bellaston
Diane Cilento Molly Seagram
George Devine Squire Allworthy
David Tomlinson Lord Fellamar
Rosalind Atkinson Mrs. Millar
Wilfred Lawson Black George
Rosalind Knight Mrs. Fitzpatrick
Jack MacGowran Partridge
Freda Jackson Mrs. Seagrim
David Warner Blifil
Joyce Redman Mrs. Waters/Jenny Jones
James Cairncross Parson Supple
Rachel Kempson Bridget Allworthy
Peter Bull Thwackum
Angela Baddeley Mrs. Wilkins
George A. Cooper Fitzpatrick
Michael MacLiammoir Narrator
John Moffatt Square
Redmond Phillips Lawyer Dowling
Patsy Rowlands Honour
Mark Dignam Lieutenant
Julian Glover Northerton
Avis Bunnage Inn Keeper
Lynn Redgrave Susan
Jack Stewart MacLachlan
Michael Brennan the Jailor at Newgate

Technical Credits
Tony Richardson Director,Producer
John Addison Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ralph W. Brinton Production Designer
Desmond Davis Camera Operator
Alex Garfath Makeup
Antony Gibbs Editor
Peter Handford Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Holden Associate Producer
Robert Lambert Editor
Walter Lassally Cinematographer
Oscar Lewenstein Associate Producer
Josie MacAvin Set Decoration/Design
Ted Marshall Art Director
John McCorry Costumes/Costume Designer
Roy Millichip Production Manager
Gerry O'Hara Asst. Director
John Osborne Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Sudden Baby/Title [5:20]
2. Sport In The Woods [9:22]
3. The Hussy War [7:45]
4. Hunting/Killing/Caring [12:47]
5. A Terrible Accident [12:50]
6. A Match Made In Error [7:59]
7. The Conspiracy [1:26]
8. Warring Protestants [5:00]
9. That Woman Mrs. Waters [9:25]
10. Choas Hotel [9:30]
11. The Faux Father [4:33]
12. Masked Ball Games [6:18]
13. Sold To Lord Fellamar [5:17]
14. Dangerous Liasions [11:15]
15. Heir-Raising Secrets [3:50]
16. End Credits [2:38]

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Tom Jones 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The whole world loves Tom Jones!" proclaimed the posters hopefully, showing the title character with arms joyfully outstretched as several scantily clad ladies worship at his feet. The slogan proved prophetic. Although it failed originally to obtain a circuit booking, "Tom Jones" broke box-office records when it opened at the London Pavilion--a success repeated when it was finally distributed across Britain and internationally. The film ultimately picked up four Oscars including Best Picture and Director (Tony Richardson) as well as a host of festival and British Academy Awards, and was universally received as one of the undisputed film delights of 1963. The film's success can be attributed to a combination of acting prowess, technical felicity and fortuitous timing. Certainly the film was fortunate in its cast (Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, Diane Cilento), who all threw themselves into the period with energy and style. Also, if the distributors were dubious about the commercial potential of a period romp in a film era more noted for social realism, in retrospect it seems that it was precisely this novelty that attracted world audiences. "Tom Jones" brought colorful extravagance back into the British cinema with its vigorous feeling for landscape and costume, while pointing out (in the celebrated stag-hunting scene) some of the century's lingering bestiality and barbarism. There are great sequences in "Tom Jones", but the dining sequence between Tom and Mrs. Waters (delightfully played by an Oscar-nominated Joyce Redman) is the high point of the film and must be counted among the all-time great comic scenes in movie history. Their devouring of food is so erotic that the scene outclasses, on a purely sexual level, any of the frank, nude lovemaking scenes which began to appear on the screen in the 1970s. Lobsters, chickens, oysters, and fruits are sucked, gobbled, licked, and bitten with riotous obscenity. Still unsatisfied, they race from dinner table to bedroom. How they manage to couple with such bloated bellies is a question the film successfully eludes. The film was applauded for bringing a modern style--slapstick comedy, captions, narration, asides to the camera, speeded-up action--to a period classic: creating comedy out of the incongruity. Once its contemporary modishness had worn off, however, it became more common to claim that this style had little thematic justification. Also, as director Richardson's reputation subsequently declined, retrospective doubts were inevitably cast over his earlier achievements. But if the whole world no longer loves "Tom Jones", its impact at the time was enormous. It also blazed a trail of frankness and good cheer into the international market, epitomizing for many the sparkle and exuberance of swinging Britain in the Sixties. Its confidence and élan would be hard to reproduce today, and there is a whole world of difference between the jolly tread of Tony Richardson's "Tom Jones" and the poisonous progress, a decade later, of Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" (1975), also a dazzling re-creation of the eighteenth century, but which narrates the downfall of eponymous social upstart with suave relish. [filmfactsman]