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Critics' Corner - Tom Jones
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The Critics' Corner: TOM JONES


Kicking off awards season, the National Board of Review named Tom Jones Best Picture and Tony Richardson Best Director.

Tom Jones placed sixth on the New York Times' ten best list for 1963.

The film captured New York Film Critics Awards for Best Picture, Director and Actor (Albert Finney).

Finney won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival, at which Tom Jones was nominated for the Golden Lion.

Tom Jones won Golden Globes for Best English-Language Foreign Film, Best Motion Picture-Musical/Comedy and Most Promising Newcomer (Finney). It also was nominated for Best Motion Picture Actor-Musical/Comedy (Finney), Best Director, Best Support Actor (Hugh Griffith) and Best Supporting Actress (Joan Greenwood).

The Writers Guild of Great Britain honored John Osborne for Best British Comedy Screenplay.

Tom Jones won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for Best Film, Best British Film and Best Screenplay. It also was nominated for Best British Actor (Finney and Griffith) and Best British Actress (Edith Evans).

The film captured Motion Picture Exhibitor magazine's Laurel Award for Top Comedy.

Tom Jones was nominated for an Eddie Award by the American Cinema Editors.

Pointing the way to his Oscar® victory, Tony Richardson won the Director's Guild Award.

Tom Jones received ten Oscar® nominations, including a record three for Best Supporting Actress (Diane Cilento, Edith Evans and Joyce Redman). It was also nominated for Best Actor (Albert Finney), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith) and Best Art Direction. It won for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Score.

John Addison's soundtrack recording won the Grammy Award.

In 1970, Los Angeles Times columnist Joyce Haber polled readers and industry members to name the greatest cinematic achievements of the '60s. Readers named Tom Jones the tenth best film overall, voted Albert Finney's the third best leading male performance in a comedy, Hugh Griffith's the second best supporting male comedy performance, John Osborne's screenplay the third best adaptation and Tony Richardson the best producer of a comedy. Industry members voted Griffith's performance the best supporting comedy performance by a male.

The Critics' Corner: Tom Jones

"There is nothing in this film that could give any member of the audience one moment of enjoyment."
- London Times

"Prepare yourself for one of the wildest, bawdiest and funniest comedies that a refreshingly agile filmmaker has ever brought to the finding a means of cinema expression in which to convey most suitably to our age the deceptively fastidious rhetoric and ribald wit of the Fielding work, Mr. Richardson and his scenarist, John Osborne of "Angry Young Man" fame, have worked out a structure and a rhythm that constitute a major creative achievement in themselves."
- Bosley Crowther, New York Times

"It is as though the camera had become a method actor: there are times when you wish you could buy, as on certain juke boxes, five minutes of silence....Obviously a film which elicits such lyric ejaculations from the reviewers cannot be all good."
- John Simon, New York magazine

"The film is a way-out, walleyed, wonderful exercise in cinema. It is also a social satire written in blood with a broadaxe. It is bawdy as the British were bawdy when a wench had to wear five petticoats to barricade her virtue."
- Time magazine

"Tom Jones is a continually delightful, mercurially rhapsodic, and altogether breath-taking film. There is, in fact, no detail, however small, which does not merit unstinting admiration. Tom Jones, an absolute triumph, is the best comedy ever made."
- Newsweek

"Tony Richardson whizzes through the Henry Fielding novel, but he pauses long enough for a great lewd eating scene."
- Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies

"The picture is a mess, sometimes called a romp, and a tribute as much as anything to the sudden new appetite for things English...The young Albert Finney tried to hold it together, but, as he knew, Tom is a passive part. Everyone else has more fun.."
- David Thomson, Have You Seen...?

"A coarse and vibrant adaptation of Fielding's picaresque novel of the Eighteenth century, full of mischievous enthusiasm and robust caricature."
- Peter Cowie, Eighty Years of Cinema

"This full-blooded, joyful adaptation of Fielding's famous novel is full of fashionable cinematic tricks but its bawdy good humor brought it a justifiable commercial success."
- Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films

"A silent film-inspired, quick edit, slapstick prologue punctuated by explicative intertitles and a sprightly harpsichord accompaniment sets the irreverent, whimsical tone for Tony Richardson's freeverse adaptation of Henry Fielding's beloved eighteenth century novel, Tom Jones, transforming the beloved comedy of manners satire as a giddy fusion of burlesque and Keystone Kops epic adventure."
- Strictly Film School,

"...under Richardson's eye and Osborne's pen, the point gets almost missed. So intent are they kicking over the walls, that their Tom becomes little more than an adventurer like a Flashman or a Sharpe. Sure, there's a little social history and commentary loitering in the background, but such is the twinkle in Albert Finney's eye and the built-in impetus to wish for his escape from every predicament, that we lose sight of the satire."
- Iain Miller, The Independent on Sunday

"Richardson's England is full of 18th century atmospherics, but its big attraction was the bawdy licence it allowed '60s permissiveness. Osborne's courageous hatchet job on Fielding's 1,000 page classic novel and Finney's gutsy performance add up to produce an enjoyable piece of irreverent entertainment."
- Robert Murphy, TimeOut Film Guide

Compiled by Frank Miller



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