Based on Thomas Hardys 19th century novel, Bathsheba Everdene is a willful, passionate girl who is never satisfied with anything less than a mans complete and helpless adoration. And she captures the lives and loves of three very different men Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer who is captivated by her beauty and proposes marriage William Boldwood, a prosperous man in his early forties and a confirmed bachelor and Sergeant Frank Troy, a handsome, reckless swordsman given to sudden fits of violence.
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This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (DVD) Very enjoyable period film. The cinematography was delightful, and I loved the story. Well worth the viewing. I highly recommend this film.
As the story opens, Miss Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie) has justinherited a farm and has decided to run it herself, a very unusualthing in Victorian England. She is being courted by a poor shepherd(Alan Bates) and a wealthy old bachelor (Peter Finch), but she's drawnto the dashing, unscrupulous Sgt. Troy (Terence Stamp).The actors were all perfectly cast: Christie is impossibly young andbeautiful and full of spunk; it's easy to imagine falling under herspell. Alan Bates plays the hardworking, salt of the earth farmer toperfection and Finch is quite touching as the shy but longinglandowner. Terence Stamp really shines as the passionate and cruelsoldier who steals Bathsheba's heart.The Dorset location photography is lovely, with sweeping vistas showingthe changing seasons and the haunting score features peasant folk songsand a wistful flute. I wish there had been smoother transitions betweenscenes, many of which seemed too short or unfinished. Other than that,though, this is a robust and beautiful story of life and love in thecountry.
I have just received the region 1 version of Far From the Madding Crowd. At last, Warner have got it right, not only with the correct Panavision ratio but a 5.1 Dolby Surround track. In the past, I have made do with a scratched region 2 copy that was cropped to 16.9 and mono sound. I can now watch this wonderful 60s Classic at my leisure as the Director intended. It has taken years but they say everything comes to those who wait.
Despite sprawling cinematography, this picture,especially thefirst-half, is absolutely dull and quite pathetic.Julie Christie, who was adept at making stinkers such as her Oscarwinning "Darling," did it again with this period trashy film.She plays Bathsheba in this one. Too bad she couldn't have heeded thewise advice that King Solomon would have given her,"Stay away from thisawful mess." What was Thomas Hardy really thinking of when he made thispiece of junk?She has 3 guys falling for her as she inherits a farm. She chooses guy#3 (Terence Stamp) a real loser in every sense of the word. Heimpregnates his Fanny before marrying Christie and then goes nuts whenFanny dies in childbirth. (The baby didn't make it either.) Then, Stampgoes to work for a circus while making believe he has drowned in theocean. Suddenly, he returns to a party hosted by suitor #2, PeterFinch. When Stamp appears, Finch puts a fatal bullet into him and iskilled for the killing. That leaves us with suitor #1, played by AlanBates. He winds up with Christie. (I guess by a process ofelimination.)Christie doesn't basically know what she wants, and even stillprofesses love for Stamp after his session with Fanny and his fatalbullet.Even the sheep can't take this film. At the beginning, they go over themountain forcing Bates to look for work on another farm, only to findChristie, who has rejected him, heading a big farm.The film is moody and boring at best. I can't understand the previouscomments. This is far from "Gone With the Wind," or "WutheringHeights." In fact, I don't know how anyone could whether this mess.
Beautiful visually, and well cast except for Julie Christie, whom I like,but who seems unable to dumb down enough to play the Scarlett O'Hara-likeBathsheba. This character seems to have a bullet lodged in her brain thatevery so often makes her act like an idiot, while the rest of the time shedisplays a robust sense of business management and English class structure.I just can't buy Christie's portrayal as a consistent one - whether it's herfault, Schlesinger's, or Hardy's.It is a story of missed moments (farm proprietors sleeping through crises);and some other moments that one wishes had been missed. But then that'sThomas Hardy (as well as I can remember from high school English).One anachronism in the scene in which Bathsheba's gown is tangled in Sgt.Troy's spur: the lantern she is carrying has to be battery-operated.Although it swings about a lot, its beam is completelysteady.
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (DVD) Beautiful scenery, good acting overall, the plot is a little morose at times but still is entertaining and well done for a Thomas Hardy period movie. It is a bit long, though, so allow a couple of hours to watch it.
This is a classic love story and worth watching over and over. Julie Christie is her usual beautiful self, Peter Finch is the suffering romantic and Alan Bates is wonderful. Costumes and settings take you back in time. Great work of art!
Caught this movie on TCM this morning (Thursday, April 14th,2011), after not having seen it for a number of years. As I recall, this film was not a box-officesuccess, despite the stellar cast. And since I have had this day's review-ing, I can see why. I kept thinking, Why is she attracted to that jackass of a sargeant?Why aren't the guys running out of the barn to rescue the hayricks, I mean, they are farmers first, partiers second. I can honestly say it bored me to death, andI was very glad to have to run an errand, and stop watching this BORING film!Buy it ONLY if you are A Hardy enthusiast, but otherwise, rent, or wait for TCM torun it again. I certainly would NOT waste the dineros to buy it!Sad to say, I give it a thumbs down. Gorgeous photoplay, but material bored the pants off me.
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd [Region 2] (DVD) I agree with all the above reviewers. I have this '60 epic in laser disk, when laser disk technology gave us better selections of great movies. "Far from the Madding Crowd," with Julie Christie at her prime, Peter Finch, Alan Bates, and Terence Stamp, and directed by John Schlesinger captures both the spirit--and the letter--of Thomas Hardy's great novel, gives the serious viewer a feast for the eye and a first rate drama with tragic overtones, a rare cinematic experience. Some DVD company should make it available in Region 1 (this country) so those of us who still possess the 90s laser discs could enjoy it in its full glory. Criterion should court it. It has given prominence to lesser things.
I have never read a good word about this film in any movie guide, whichfrankly baffles me. I think it's a masterpiece, and despite Hardy being oneof my favourite authors, I think this is actually better than the novel. Italso contains two absolutely perfect moments.But first some general comments. The photography is gorgeous, actuallylooking more realistic than idyllic, beautiful but sometimes cold andforboding, brooding over the tragic proceedings. Secondly, the remarkable soundtrack by Richard Rodney Bennett lends themovie a good deal of its emotiveness. The use of English folk songs tocomment on the proceedings is ingenious, sometimes impressively reflectiveof the situations, and at points extremely unsettling.Julie Christie is beautiful and I found her Bathsheba the precise mixture ofheadstrong independence and vulnerability. Terence Stamp's repulsive Troy isa triumph of casting and Alan Bates is wonderful as the simpliest of hersuitors.The film is stolen for me though by Peter Finch, who begins a hat trick ofdevastating performances, here, in The Trials of Oscar Wilde and SundayBloody Sunday. His Boldwood is a remarkable creation, so eligible, sotragic, so lost and helpless. His scene with Bathsheba when she suggestsChristmas to be a time when she will make a decision on their future isheartbreaking. "Christmas," he smiles. "I'm happier now."But the scene that should surely secure this movie a place in film historyis that in the graveyard. Without spoling the plot for those who have yet tosee it, the gargoyle spewing rainwater over the graves as the sound of "TheBold Grenadier" plays is as affecting an image as one is ever likely to seeon screen. The Boldwood plot has a darker outcome here than in the book,which I'm sure Hardy would have approved of. This is a beautiful anddisturbing movie that does not shy away from Hardy's bleak view ofexistence, and adds to the mix a strong sense of gritty 60s honesty.Beautiful, devastating and unforgettable.
This movie featured a terrific cast, great acting, beautiful scenery andwasan entertaining movie....but they needed to hire an editor. It could havebeen an hour shorter and had the exact same effect.
In this sprawling adaptation of the Hardy novel, a beautiful woman in19th century English countryside must select a suitor among three men.It has become fashionable to bash this film but it is quite animpressive production. Although she may not be exactly what Hardy hadin mind, Christie is radiant as the heroine. The men pursuing her arewell played by Finch as a rich landowner, Stamp as a cad, andespecially Bates as a poor sheep farmer. Schlesinger's direction isleisurely and meticulous but he sustains interest despite the nearlythree-hour length. The cinematography by Roeg is breathtaking andBennett's score adds a haunting quality to the film.
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (DVD) The movie is literate with a plot true to Hardy's novel. The acting and technical quality are excellent. The obvious effort to give a realistic feel for the place and time is more than successful and contributes beautifully to the movie's plot. No 3D, monsters or obscenity. Just an outstanding film which conveys ideas worth thinking about and a style worth remembering.
...so I rented and watched it again -- and I was every bit as bored and unimpressed as I remembered feeling after having watched it the first time!Having read this book more than once (it is my favorite Thomas Hardy book, and one of my favorite books of all time), and having seen both filmed versions, I have to say that this version (with Alan Bates, Julie Christie and Peter Finch) cannot hold a candle to the Mobil Masterpiece Theatre remake, released in 1998, with Nathaniel Parker, Paloma Baeza and Nigel Terry.This Bates/Christie version was a great disappointment to me. Julie Christie was too old for the part of Bathsheba, did not fit Hardy's description of her at all, and has never impressed me as much of an actress -- an opinion which has only been substantiated by her high-school-calibre performance in this film -- a MAJOR casting faux pas! (and a slap on the hand to the makeup artist who made this supposed 19th-century character even more farcical by piling on the makeup until she looked like a Vogue cover girl, rather than the mistress of Weatherbury Farm). Peter Finch's performance, as Boldwood, was admirable (actually the best of the film, in my opinion), but just did not elicit the strong feeling of empathy from me, as Nigel Terry did in the Masterpiece Theatre version. In all fairness, Finch did not seem to have as much screen time, so character development was lacking. The greatest surprise to me, in regard to this film, was that I also felt the same about Alan Bates' performance as Gabriel Oak -- he just did not convey the emotions and the quality of Oak's character, as described by Hardy in the book, and I found his portrayal to be PAINFULLY bland and boring. He seemed as though he was reading his lines straight off a teleprompter -- emotion and warmth were virtually non-existent! (a STRIKING contrast to Nathaniel Parker's sensitive, powerful, heart-wrenching portrayal of Oak in the 1998 film).Part of the blame would have to be shared by the director of this version -- the actors APPEARED to be acting, and neither they, nor the director, seemed to have a firm grasp or understanding of the explicit emotions and personalities of the characters, which Hardy had gone to great effort and detail to describe in the book. I highly recommend to anyone who has seen only this version -- or to anyone who has never seen either version -- that you rent or buy the 1998 Masterpiece Theatre film, which is truer to Hardy's book (although some changes were made in that adaptation also, due to time constraints, it wasn't nearly as "choppy" as this one), and is a quality production in every way, and brilliantly acted, from the main players right down through the supporting cast.
John Schlesinger's film of Thomas Hardy's novel was released in 1967and I saw it twice in the early 1970s. I was prompted to view it againby the 2010 movie "Tamara Drewe" whose storyline is inspired by "FarFrom The Madding Crowd".It was a pleasure to revisit Schlesinger's work which has astar-stunned cast with the beautiful Julie Christie as BathshebaEverdine and Peter Finch, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates as the three menseeking her affections. As eye-catching as these performances thoughare the Dorset and Wiltshire countryside and the wonderfulcinematographer of Nicolas Roe three years before he became a director.
Quite simply, one of the very best "adaption" movies I have ever seen. Beautifully filmed with superb, clever casting,this movie is a classic that is as enjoyable and moving today as it was when first viewed almost 35 years ago. Julie Christie's performance is absolute perfection and a joy to behold.
Okay, I'll admit it. The first hour of this film dragged so much that Ialmost gave up on it. All there was was Julie Christie fighting the Dorsetscenery for beauty, and that was about it. Then, Terrance Stamp, as thecharming louse Christie marries, came on the scene, and that did it. Thestory really got moving at that point, with all the principals giving solidperformances.Stamp, as mentioned before, stands out as Frank, the amoral ex-soldier whoselove-hate relationship with Christie leads to tragedy. The ever-excellentPeter Finch, underplaying more than was usually his wont, does equally aswell as a neighboring farmer, whose growing obsession wth Christie'sBathsheba is brought out subtly but forcefully. And Christie's Bathshebadoes, indeed, make a strong protagonist. We sympathize with her throughevery twist and turn, every trial and tribulation, every pain and pleasure.Why she and Stamp, especially, weren't Oscar-nominated for this film isunfathomable. Richard Rodney Bennet's score, future director Nicolas Roeg'scamerawork, and, especially, John Schlesinger's direction bring it alltogether.As I said earlier, wade through the first hour as best you can, then sitback and enjoy.
This is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen.It is elegant, refined and very well directed.Peter Finch is simply great. I like him very much. Very goodactor.
Thomas Hardy has never fared particularly well with movie-goers. His name just doesn't ring that vaguely pleasant bell -- like Edna Ferber, for instance. As a result his gloomy bucolic novels have rarely been filmed. (A 1924 version of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" was given a happy ending! Roman Polanski changed all that 55 years later with his "Tess".) Things hadn't really changed that much by 1967 when John Schlesinger released his version of the 1874 novel "Far From the Madding Crowd". The picture opened in road-show style, complete with reserved seating, an intermission, and a nearly three-hour length. To understand why it flopped, you must remember this was the year of "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Dirty Dozen". (The Academy chose "In the Heat of the Night" Best Picture.) Even though it ends with a fatal shooting, "Far From the Madding Crowd" is about as far from Hollywood bang-bang as you can get. One would think the flower children with their back-to-the-earth sensibilities would have picked up on the pastoral beauty of "Far From the Madding Crowd", but I think it was Hardy that cooled them and caused them to run to "Cool Hand Luke". The movie was withdrawn from distribution and, a few months later, it was chopped up, re-released, and advertised with posters promising a sexual license that didn't exist. (I'm amazed they didn't re-title it "That Madding Girl!".) Now, however, the film is available intact and in letter-box format; and, because it is basically a complicated love story, it's a good movie for home viewing. Schlesinger had already directed Julie Christie in two other movies (including the acclaimed "Darling") when he decided to cast her as the headstrong, fascinating Bathsheba Everdene. The three men she fascinates are each very different: Gabriel Oak, a strong, resourceful shephard (in Hardy's novel, the central character); Francis Troy, a hot-blooded, dashing soldier; and William Boldwood, a wealthy but neurotic landowner. Critics had trouble deciding which of the three actors gave the superlative performance: Alan Bates as Shephard Oak, the versatile Terence Stamp (he who had played the angelic Billy Budd) as the opportunistic Sgt Troy, or Peter Finch as Farmer Boldwood, a character Hardy might have written with Finch in mind. They're all three excellent. Julie Christie is, of course, about as 19th Century as a mini-skirt, but that anachronism actually works in her favor here. Bathsheba (the British pronunciation puts the emphasis on the first syllable) is suppose to be a defiant character, oblivious to woman's accepted role in Victorian society. "I didn't want you to think I was any man's property," she explains when rejecting Gabriel's proposal. And later when she takes over her late uncle's farm, she determines to be her own bailiff, telling the men: "I shall astonish you all!" (They seem a little confounded already.) It's a prescient role (many of Hardy's contemporaries didn't like the character), and Miss Christie takes it and runs with it. Her voluptuous beauty has never been more glamorously photographed, but the same might be said for the Dorsetshire countryside where the picture was shot on location by Nicholas Roeg. This is one of the most gorgeous movies ever filmed, and Richard Rodney Bennett's flavorful score (highlighted by English folk songs) beautifully complements the visuals. (I have this score on LP, but evidently it's not available on CD.) The stars are supported by a perfect cast of character actors, and Frederic Raphael's screenplay has them talking in thick Hardyesque dialects that are difficult but delightful. "Far From the Madding Crowd" is a rich cinematic experience for Hardy fans, Anglophiles, et al.
A pastoral setting, star crossed lovers and tragedy all beset this well acted, superbly crafted film based on the novel by Thomas Hardy. All remastered beautifully onto dvd. Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch are torn and bewildered as the tale unfolds and grips your senses. This is one of John Schlesinger's finest films.