Tom Jones


2h 8m 1963
Tom Jones

Brief Synopsis

In this adaptation of Henry Fielding's novel, a country boy in 18th-century England becomes a playboy.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 7 Oct 1963
Production Company
Woodfall Film Productions
Distribution Company
Lopert Pictures
Country
United Kingdom
Location
England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding (1749).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Synopsis

In 18th century England, Squire Allworthy returns to his manor house to find a smiling baby boy abandoned in his bed. A serving maid, Jenny Jones, is accused of being the infant's unwed mother and Allworthy banishes her from the household. The squire then names the child Tom Jones and rears him with his legitimate heir, Blifil. Tom grows up to be an earthy but good natured boy liked by all except the envious, pimply-faced Blifil. Although Tom is in love with Sophie Western, the daughter of a neighboring squire, he falls into disgrace because of his amorous adventures with Molly, the local trollop. The two squires, goaded by Sophie's meddlesome aunt, Miss Western, arrange for a marriage between Sophie and Blifil; but when Sophie refuses because of her love for the lowly-born Tom, Squire Allworthy is pressured into sending the boy away. En route to London, Tom dallies to spend a lusty evening with Mrs. Waters, unaware that she is the former Jenny Jones. After a subsequent affair in London with the worldly Lady Bellaston, Tom is reunited with Sophie, who has left home rather than marry Blifil. Determined to be rid of Tom, Blifil has him framed for robbery and sentenced to be hanged; but at the last minute Blifil's villainy is exposed, and Tom is saved from the gallows. Further, it is revealed that Tom, although still illegitimate, is actually the son of Squire Allworthy's deceased sister. Once more reinstated in the affections of both Squire Allworthy and Squire Western, Tom is at long last granted permission to marry his beloved Sophie.

Photo Collections

Tom Jones - Movie Poster
Here is a country-of-origin British Quad movie poster for Tom Jones (1963), starring Albert Finney and directed by Tony Richardson.

Videos

Movie Clip

Tom Jones (1963) - I Should Teach Him Some New Songs First scene with Sophie (Susannah York), returned from two years in London, for whom Albert Finney (title character) has captured a thrush, only to see it released by his prissy rival Blifil (David Warner) in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, 1963.
Tom Jones (1963) - There's LIttle Hope Quickening events as Tom (Albert Finney) learns from Blifil (David Warner) of the accident, and both attend the deathbed of Squire Allworthy (George Devine), who fails to die in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, 1963.
Tom Jones (1963) - Opening, Our Hero The wacky opening to Tony Richardson's Tom Jones 1963, in which Squire Allworthy (George Devine) arrives home and subtitles begin the scandalous story.
Tom Jones (1963) - Whatever High Ideals Tom (Albert Finney) and "Mrs. Waters" (Joyce Redman), who may be his forgotten adoptive mother, in the famous lascivious dinner scene from Tony Richardson's Best Picture-winning adaptation of the Henry Fielding novel, Tom Jones, 1963.
Tom Jones (1963) - Let Dogs Delight Michael MacLiammoirr's narration introduces a scene at church which devolves into mayhen with Tom (Albert Finney) rescuing Molly (Diane Cilento) in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, 1963.
Tom Jones (1963) - Tom and Sophie Music, flowers, frolicking and swooning as Sophie (Susannah York) nurses Tom (Albert Finney), recovering from his broken arm, the song titled "Tom And Sophie," from John Addison's Academy Award-winning score, in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, 1963.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 7 Oct 1963
Production Company
Woodfall Film Productions
Distribution Company
Lopert Pictures
Country
United Kingdom
Location
England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding (1749).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Award Wins

Best Director

1963
Tony Richardson

Best Picture

1963

Best Score

1963

Best Writing, Screenplay

1964

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1963
Albert Finney

Best Art Direction

1963
Ralph Brinton

Best Supporting Actor

1963
Hugh Griffith

Best Supporting Actress

1963
Diane Cilento

Best Supporting Actress

1963
Edith Evans

Best Supporting Actress

1963
Joyce Redman

Articles

The Essentials - Tom Jones


SYNOPSIS

Whether or not Tom Jones, a foundling adopted by Squire Allworthy in the 18th-century British countryside, was born to be hanged is the question that follows the young man through a series of amorous encounters ranging from a country wench of easy virtue, if any, to a society woman, an older adventuress who may be his birth mother and, most important, sweet young Sophie, the daughter of the neighboring Squire Western. Tom's efforts to win his one true love put him in the path of his jealous stepbrother, reckless highwaymen, bumbling law enforcement officers and a string of seductive females as he travels to London in search of his fortune.

Director-Producer: Tony Richardson
Screenplay: John Osborne
Based on the novel by Henry Fielding
Cinematography: Walter Lassally
Editing: Anthony Gibbs
Art Direction: Ralph Brinton
Music: John Addison
Cast: Albert Finney (Tom Jones), Susannah York (Sophie Western), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Bellaston), Diane Cilento (Molly Seagrim), George Devine (Squire Allworthy), David Tomlinson (Lord Fellamar), Joyce Redman (Mrs. Waters/ Jenny Jones), Angela Baddeley (Mrs. Wilkins), Peter Bull (Thwackum), Rachel Kempson (Mrs. Seagrim), Wilfrid Lawson (Black George), Jack MacGowran (Partridge), Patsy Rowlands (Honor), David Warner (Bilfil), Lynn Redgrave (Susan), Micheal MacLiammoir (Narrator), Julian Glover (Northerton)
C-131m.

Why TOM JONES is Essential

The success of Tom Jones triggered a revival of commercial interest in the British cinema that brought large amounts of U.S. capital into the country as producers tried to make lightning strike twice.

Although the film did not mark his screen debut, Tom Jones made Albert Finney a star, leading the way to a long, still active career of outstanding performances as a leading man on screen.

With its combination of broad comedy and period manners, Tom Jones brought an end to the English Free Cinema movement, often associated with "kitchen sink" dramas about "angry young men," at which director Tony Richardson and screenwriter John Osborne had excelled. Instead, the British film industry moved toward more escapist entertainment focusing on a lighthearted view of Great Britain's past and generous helpings of sexual innuendo.

The speed with which director Tony Richardson presented the film and his incorporation of such eclectic devices as undercranking, fast wipes and asides to the camera, paved the way for a more visual approach to British filmmaking, making it possible for such frenetic filmmakers as Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night, 1964) and Karel Reisz (Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, 1966) to find an audience.

Tom Jones's carefree attitude towards sex, which at one point suggests that the title character had been seduced by his own mother, helped set the more casual tone for "the swinging '60s," epitomized by the British invasion of pop music and fashion.

by Frank Miller
The Essentials - Tom Jones

The Essentials - Tom Jones

SYNOPSIS Whether or not Tom Jones, a foundling adopted by Squire Allworthy in the 18th-century British countryside, was born to be hanged is the question that follows the young man through a series of amorous encounters ranging from a country wench of easy virtue, if any, to a society woman, an older adventuress who may be his birth mother and, most important, sweet young Sophie, the daughter of the neighboring Squire Western. Tom's efforts to win his one true love put him in the path of his jealous stepbrother, reckless highwaymen, bumbling law enforcement officers and a string of seductive females as he travels to London in search of his fortune. Director-Producer: Tony Richardson Screenplay: John Osborne Based on the novel by Henry Fielding Cinematography: Walter Lassally Editing: Anthony Gibbs Art Direction: Ralph Brinton Music: John Addison Cast: Albert Finney (Tom Jones), Susannah York (Sophie Western), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Bellaston), Diane Cilento (Molly Seagrim), George Devine (Squire Allworthy), David Tomlinson (Lord Fellamar), Joyce Redman (Mrs. Waters/ Jenny Jones), Angela Baddeley (Mrs. Wilkins), Peter Bull (Thwackum), Rachel Kempson (Mrs. Seagrim), Wilfrid Lawson (Black George), Jack MacGowran (Partridge), Patsy Rowlands (Honor), David Warner (Bilfil), Lynn Redgrave (Susan), Micheal MacLiammoir (Narrator), Julian Glover (Northerton) C-131m. Why TOM JONES is Essential The success of Tom Jones triggered a revival of commercial interest in the British cinema that brought large amounts of U.S. capital into the country as producers tried to make lightning strike twice. Although the film did not mark his screen debut, Tom Jones made Albert Finney a star, leading the way to a long, still active career of outstanding performances as a leading man on screen. With its combination of broad comedy and period manners, Tom Jones brought an end to the English Free Cinema movement, often associated with "kitchen sink" dramas about "angry young men," at which director Tony Richardson and screenwriter John Osborne had excelled. Instead, the British film industry moved toward more escapist entertainment focusing on a lighthearted view of Great Britain's past and generous helpings of sexual innuendo. The speed with which director Tony Richardson presented the film and his incorporation of such eclectic devices as undercranking, fast wipes and asides to the camera, paved the way for a more visual approach to British filmmaking, making it possible for such frenetic filmmakers as Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night, 1964) and Karel Reisz (Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, 1966) to find an audience. Tom Jones's carefree attitude towards sex, which at one point suggests that the title character had been seduced by his own mother, helped set the more casual tone for "the swinging '60s," epitomized by the British invasion of pop music and fashion. by Frank Miller

Pop Culture 101 - Tom Jones


With the success of Tom Jones at the box office, Henry Fielding's original novel appeared on the best seller list for the first time in history.

Tom Jones came to the stage in a Las Vegas musical starring Nicky Henson in the '70s. The project was brought to film as a rough remake of the 1963 film in 1976 entitled The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones. Henson repeated his role, co-starring with Trevor Howard, Terry-Thomas, Arthur Lowe and Georgia Brown. Joan Collins played a new role, highwaywoman Black Bess.

In 1977, director Tony Richardson returned to Fielding to film the author's Joseph Andrews, another lusty comedy about an innocent country boy who excites the passions of every woman he meets. For the small role of a squire involved in a hunt, Richardson cast Hugh Griffith and even had him dressed, wigged and made up exactly as he had appeared in Tom Jones. By that time, however, the actor's drinking was so out of control that they could only shoot one line at a time before he lost focus.

In The Muppet Movie (1979), Kermit and Miss Piggy don 18th century costumes for a love scene modeled on Tom Jones.

Tom Jones's eating scene is spoofed in the 1981 porn film Same Time Every Year, starring Ron Jeremy.

For the film's 1989 restoration, Richardson cut seven minutes, mostly taking out a few frames here and there. "I would have done then if I'd been smart enough," Richardson would later state. "It's taken me 25 years too not be so dumb."

Greg Fedderly played the title role of Tom Jones in a 1996 Swedish television adaptation.

Much of the material Richardson and John Osborne cut from Fielding's novel was restored for a nearly eight-hour BBC version of the novel titled The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997). The five-part series starred Max Beesley as Tom, with Brian Blessed as Squire Western, Frances de la Tour as Aunt Western, Samantha Morton as Sophie, Lindsay Duncan as Lady Bellaston and John Sessions as Fielding. The miniseries aired in three one-hour parts in the U.S. on the Arts & Entertainment Network.

SOURCES:
Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir
Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits
IMDB

by Frank Miller

Pop Culture 101 - Tom Jones

With the success of Tom Jones at the box office, Henry Fielding's original novel appeared on the best seller list for the first time in history. Tom Jones came to the stage in a Las Vegas musical starring Nicky Henson in the '70s. The project was brought to film as a rough remake of the 1963 film in 1976 entitled The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones. Henson repeated his role, co-starring with Trevor Howard, Terry-Thomas, Arthur Lowe and Georgia Brown. Joan Collins played a new role, highwaywoman Black Bess. In 1977, director Tony Richardson returned to Fielding to film the author's Joseph Andrews, another lusty comedy about an innocent country boy who excites the passions of every woman he meets. For the small role of a squire involved in a hunt, Richardson cast Hugh Griffith and even had him dressed, wigged and made up exactly as he had appeared in Tom Jones. By that time, however, the actor's drinking was so out of control that they could only shoot one line at a time before he lost focus. In The Muppet Movie (1979), Kermit and Miss Piggy don 18th century costumes for a love scene modeled on Tom Jones. Tom Jones's eating scene is spoofed in the 1981 porn film Same Time Every Year, starring Ron Jeremy. For the film's 1989 restoration, Richardson cut seven minutes, mostly taking out a few frames here and there. "I would have done then if I'd been smart enough," Richardson would later state. "It's taken me 25 years too not be so dumb." Greg Fedderly played the title role of Tom Jones in a 1996 Swedish television adaptation. Much of the material Richardson and John Osborne cut from Fielding's novel was restored for a nearly eight-hour BBC version of the novel titled The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997). The five-part series starred Max Beesley as Tom, with Brian Blessed as Squire Western, Frances de la Tour as Aunt Western, Samantha Morton as Sophie, Lindsay Duncan as Lady Bellaston and John Sessions as Fielding. The miniseries aired in three one-hour parts in the U.S. on the Arts & Entertainment Network. SOURCES: Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits IMDB by Frank Miller

Trivia - Tom Jones - Trivia & Fun Facts About TOM JONES


The scene in which Squire Western turns his horse round and round was unplanned. Hugh Griffith was so drunk during shooting he pulled on one rein viciously. After the turn, the horse reared up and fell backwards onto the actor. The only thing that saved Griffith from injury was his drunkenness. He was so relaxed, he simply rolled with the fall.

Edith Evans, who played Squire Western's sister, loathed Griffith, but knew that his mercurial ways often filmed beautifully. Nonetheless, she was often so exasperated with his lack of control that she swatted him with her character's parasol.

While filming a scene in which Evans was confined to a coach, Griffith lashed at the horses and sent them galloping with the actress still inside. Fortunately, they were shooting in an enclosed yard, and the crew was able to calm the horses down before anybody got hurt.

During the filming at Nettlecoombe, crewmembers helped the proprietor's son open up the crypt beneath the family chapel. They had hoped to find relics from earlier centuries but only found some contemporary coffins floating around in the flooded burial chamber.

The chicken used for the eating scene had such weak bones that Albert Finney and Joyce Redman couldn't get the wishbone to snap as scripted. The props department had to construct an artificial wishbone out of match sticks.

Richardson's wife, Vanessa Redgrave, snuck onto the set one day costumed as a male extra. Not recognizing her, the director yelled at his assistant to move the young man to the back of a crowd scene.

Watch carefully, and you'll see tire tracks along the course ridden by the hunters during the deer hunt sequence.

Albert Finney went on vacation rather than attend the Academy Awards® ceremonies. When he learned that Sidney Poitier had won Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963), he toasted the actor and launched into a fierce twist. Although he would be nominated four more times, Finney has never attended the Academy Awards®.

Tom Jones grossed $16.9 million on its initial release, eventually making $50 million internationally on a budget of just $1 million.

by Frank Miller

Famous Quotes from TOM JONES

"Tom Jones, of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged." -- Micheal MacLiammoir, as the Narrator, introducing the title character.

"Look at him, ma'am. He's the most handsome man I ever saw in my life." -- Patsy Rowlands, as Honor, on discovering Albert Finney, as Tom Jones, sleeping.

"I had the good fortune to know who my parents were. Consequently, I am grieved by their loss." -- David Warner, as Bilfil, insulting Finney, as his stepbrother, Tom Jones.

"It's a good night to be abroad and looking for game." -- Finney, as Tom.

"Tom had always thought that any woman was better than none, while Molly never felt that one man was quite as good as two." -- MacLiammoir, as the Narrator, on the relationship between Finney and Diane Cilento, as Molly Seagrim.

"Rouse yourself from this pastoral torpor, sir!" -- Edith Evans, as Miss Western, to Hugh Griffith, as Squire Western.

"You are such a boor."
"A boar? I am no boar!" -- Evans, as Miss Western, attempting to insult Griffith, as Squire Western.

"Damn me, what a misery it is to have daughters when a man has a good mare and dogs." -- Griffith, as Western.

"Madam, I despise your politics as much as I do a fart." -- Griffith.

"It is widely held that too much wine will dull a man's desire. Indeed it will...in a dull man." -- MacLiammoir.

"Sir, it's as easy for a man to have been at school and know something as it is for a man to have been at school and know nothing." -- Finney.

"We are all as God made us, and many of us much worse." -- MacLiammoir.

"If you take my heart by Surprise, the rest of my body has the right to follow." -- Finney, to Joan Greenwood, as Lady Bellaston.

"In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea." -- MacLiammoir.

"Tom, thou art as hearty a cock as any in the kingdom. Go on after your mistress." -- Griffith, finally giving Finney his consent to marry Susannah York, as Sophie Western.

"Harkee, Allworthy. I'll bet thee a thousand pounds to a crown we have a boy tomorrow nine months." -- Griffith.

"Happy the man and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own,
He who secure within can say:
Tomorrow do thy worst!
For I have lived today." -- MacLiammoir, at the film's end.

Trivia - Tom Jones - Trivia & Fun Facts About TOM JONES

The scene in which Squire Western turns his horse round and round was unplanned. Hugh Griffith was so drunk during shooting he pulled on one rein viciously. After the turn, the horse reared up and fell backwards onto the actor. The only thing that saved Griffith from injury was his drunkenness. He was so relaxed, he simply rolled with the fall. Edith Evans, who played Squire Western's sister, loathed Griffith, but knew that his mercurial ways often filmed beautifully. Nonetheless, she was often so exasperated with his lack of control that she swatted him with her character's parasol. While filming a scene in which Evans was confined to a coach, Griffith lashed at the horses and sent them galloping with the actress still inside. Fortunately, they were shooting in an enclosed yard, and the crew was able to calm the horses down before anybody got hurt. During the filming at Nettlecoombe, crewmembers helped the proprietor's son open up the crypt beneath the family chapel. They had hoped to find relics from earlier centuries but only found some contemporary coffins floating around in the flooded burial chamber. The chicken used for the eating scene had such weak bones that Albert Finney and Joyce Redman couldn't get the wishbone to snap as scripted. The props department had to construct an artificial wishbone out of match sticks. Richardson's wife, Vanessa Redgrave, snuck onto the set one day costumed as a male extra. Not recognizing her, the director yelled at his assistant to move the young man to the back of a crowd scene. Watch carefully, and you'll see tire tracks along the course ridden by the hunters during the deer hunt sequence. Albert Finney went on vacation rather than attend the Academy Awards® ceremonies. When he learned that Sidney Poitier had won Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963), he toasted the actor and launched into a fierce twist. Although he would be nominated four more times, Finney has never attended the Academy Awards®. Tom Jones grossed $16.9 million on its initial release, eventually making $50 million internationally on a budget of just $1 million. by Frank Miller Famous Quotes from TOM JONES "Tom Jones, of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged." -- Micheal MacLiammoir, as the Narrator, introducing the title character. "Look at him, ma'am. He's the most handsome man I ever saw in my life." -- Patsy Rowlands, as Honor, on discovering Albert Finney, as Tom Jones, sleeping. "I had the good fortune to know who my parents were. Consequently, I am grieved by their loss." -- David Warner, as Bilfil, insulting Finney, as his stepbrother, Tom Jones. "It's a good night to be abroad and looking for game." -- Finney, as Tom. "Tom had always thought that any woman was better than none, while Molly never felt that one man was quite as good as two." -- MacLiammoir, as the Narrator, on the relationship between Finney and Diane Cilento, as Molly Seagrim. "Rouse yourself from this pastoral torpor, sir!" -- Edith Evans, as Miss Western, to Hugh Griffith, as Squire Western. "You are such a boor." "A boar? I am no boar!" -- Evans, as Miss Western, attempting to insult Griffith, as Squire Western. "Damn me, what a misery it is to have daughters when a man has a good mare and dogs." -- Griffith, as Western. "Madam, I despise your politics as much as I do a fart." -- Griffith. "It is widely held that too much wine will dull a man's desire. Indeed it will...in a dull man." -- MacLiammoir. "Sir, it's as easy for a man to have been at school and know something as it is for a man to have been at school and know nothing." -- Finney. "We are all as God made us, and many of us much worse." -- MacLiammoir. "If you take my heart by Surprise, the rest of my body has the right to follow." -- Finney, to Joan Greenwood, as Lady Bellaston. "In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea." -- MacLiammoir. "Tom, thou art as hearty a cock as any in the kingdom. Go on after your mistress." -- Griffith, finally giving Finney his consent to marry Susannah York, as Sophie Western. "Harkee, Allworthy. I'll bet thee a thousand pounds to a crown we have a boy tomorrow nine months." -- Griffith. "Happy the man and happy he alone, He who can call today his own, He who secure within can say: Tomorrow do thy worst! For I have lived today." -- MacLiammoir, at the film's end.

The Big Idea - Tom Jones


Henry Fielding's A History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, first published on February 28, 1749, was one of the first British novels.

Tom Jones was twice adapted to the musical stage. French composer Francois-Andre Danican Philidor brought it to the stage of Paris' Comedie-Italienne in 1765, where it flopped. He remounted it with a new libretto, and it became one of the biggest hits of the late 18th century. In 1907, Edward German brought the novel, heavily bowdlerized, to the stage in England as a comic opera. It ran 110 performances in London, then moved to the U.S. More recently, the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake revived the opera with a new script that restored material from Fielding's story that German's version had censored.

Fielding's novel had only been filmed once previously, as a silent film in 1917. The British film starred Langhorn Burton in the title role, Will Corrie as Squire Western and Dora De Winton as Sophie.

After helping create the English Free Cinema movement with such acclaimed "kitchen sink" dramas as Look Back in Anger (1958) and The Entertainer (1960), both adaptations of John Osborne plays, director Tony Richardson was looking for a change of pace when he hit on the idea of filming Henry Fielding's novel. Helping arouse his interest was the opportunity it offered to work in color for the first time and the suitability of the title role to rising young star Albert Finney, who had played a small role in The Entertainer.

After directing Osborne's plays on stage and in their screen adaptations, Richardson and the playwright worked more collaboratively on Tom Jones. The director outlined the scenes, characters and events he wanted to include from Fielding's sprawling novel, then Osborne turned that into a screenplay. When Richardson complained that there were details missing from the narrative, Osborne did one re-write. Then the director did the final re-writes, even reshaping the script during production. When Osborne published "his" screenplay, it actually was the cutting continuity created from the film's edited version.

Richardson originally wanted to use cinematographer Oswald Morris, who had shot his Look Back in Anger, but their approaches to the material were too different. Instead, Richardson hired Walter Lassally, a German-born cinematographer with whom he had worked on A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962).

Richardson's Woodfall Films struck a deal with British Lion and Columbia to finance Tom Jones, but the studios, particularly Columbia, were reluctant to commit to the full budget required for a period film. As production plans proceeded, Richardson began to worry that he would have to risk bankruptcy to get the picture made. Then his agent put him in touch with David V. Picker, who had just been named head of production for United Artists. Picker liked Richardson and the script and committed to finance the film, at which point Columbia complained that they would have underwritten the budget had Richardson just been patient.

After signing to play the film's title role, Albert Finney complained about his character. To keep him happy, Richardson offered him a chance to serve as associate producer, to which the actor agreed. He would later trade the producing credit for a share of the film's profits, which proved to be a very wise move on his part.

Having recently wed actress Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson made Tom Jones a family affair by casting her sister, Lynn, in her screen debut, and her mother, Rachel Kempson, as Squire Allworthy's sister.

by Frank Miller

SOURCES:
Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir
Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits
IMDB

The Big Idea - Tom Jones

Henry Fielding's A History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, first published on February 28, 1749, was one of the first British novels. Tom Jones was twice adapted to the musical stage. French composer Francois-Andre Danican Philidor brought it to the stage of Paris' Comedie-Italienne in 1765, where it flopped. He remounted it with a new libretto, and it became one of the biggest hits of the late 18th century. In 1907, Edward German brought the novel, heavily bowdlerized, to the stage in England as a comic opera. It ran 110 performances in London, then moved to the U.S. More recently, the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake revived the opera with a new script that restored material from Fielding's story that German's version had censored. Fielding's novel had only been filmed once previously, as a silent film in 1917. The British film starred Langhorn Burton in the title role, Will Corrie as Squire Western and Dora De Winton as Sophie. After helping create the English Free Cinema movement with such acclaimed "kitchen sink" dramas as Look Back in Anger (1958) and The Entertainer (1960), both adaptations of John Osborne plays, director Tony Richardson was looking for a change of pace when he hit on the idea of filming Henry Fielding's novel. Helping arouse his interest was the opportunity it offered to work in color for the first time and the suitability of the title role to rising young star Albert Finney, who had played a small role in The Entertainer. After directing Osborne's plays on stage and in their screen adaptations, Richardson and the playwright worked more collaboratively on Tom Jones. The director outlined the scenes, characters and events he wanted to include from Fielding's sprawling novel, then Osborne turned that into a screenplay. When Richardson complained that there were details missing from the narrative, Osborne did one re-write. Then the director did the final re-writes, even reshaping the script during production. When Osborne published "his" screenplay, it actually was the cutting continuity created from the film's edited version. Richardson originally wanted to use cinematographer Oswald Morris, who had shot his Look Back in Anger, but their approaches to the material were too different. Instead, Richardson hired Walter Lassally, a German-born cinematographer with whom he had worked on A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962). Richardson's Woodfall Films struck a deal with British Lion and Columbia to finance Tom Jones, but the studios, particularly Columbia, were reluctant to commit to the full budget required for a period film. As production plans proceeded, Richardson began to worry that he would have to risk bankruptcy to get the picture made. Then his agent put him in touch with David V. Picker, who had just been named head of production for United Artists. Picker liked Richardson and the script and committed to finance the film, at which point Columbia complained that they would have underwritten the budget had Richardson just been patient. After signing to play the film's title role, Albert Finney complained about his character. To keep him happy, Richardson offered him a chance to serve as associate producer, to which the actor agreed. He would later trade the producing credit for a share of the film's profits, which proved to be a very wise move on his part. Having recently wed actress Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson made Tom Jones a family affair by casting her sister, Lynn, in her screen debut, and her mother, Rachel Kempson, as Squire Allworthy's sister. by Frank Miller SOURCES: Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits IMDB

Behind the Camera - Tom Jones - Behind The Camera on TOM JONES


Tony Richardson shot Tom Jones on location in the British countryside during the summer of 1962. Among the estates at which he shot were Nettlecoombe, which was a girls school at the time, and Cranborne, which included a garden labyrinth.

Among the places in which the cast and crew stayed during filming were a castle and estate that included England's first scientific pig farm and a haunted house in Wiltshire.

Because of his displeasure with his role, Albert Finney was sullen and withdrawn through most of the production. He would later say, "I just felt I was being used. I wasn't involved....I felt bored most of the time."

Wilfrid Lawson, who played the gamekeeper, and Hugh Griffith, who played Squire Western, were drinking buddies and inveterate troublemakers. During location shooting in the seaside resort of Weymouth, they dangled a barmaid outside a window upside down.

Griffith's drinking caused numerous production delays, particularly since for much of the shoot he commuted from London. Production assistants frequently had to track him down along the road to London, often finding him passed out.

After Griffith accidentally hit several cast and crew members with his riding crop, Richardson had it specially wired to diminish its sting.

It took two nights to film the sequence in which Squire Western chases after Tom. The second night, Griffith managed to undo the wiring on his riding crop, and actually hit Finney with it, drawing blood. In character, Finney turned on Griffith and said, "I can't abide to be whipped, Squire," then punched him in the face. Each stalked off the set, swearing never to work with the other again.

The hunting scene posed special problems because the local hunters refused to cooperate, assuming the film would take an anti-hunting approach. The crew had to comb the countryside to find hounds people were willing to sell or rent. Richardson wanted to show the dogs tearing into the deer at the end, so the crew tried to keep the hounds hungry, as is the custom in hunting. The local huntsmen, getting wind of the schedule, broke into the kennel the night before and fed the dogs heartily. When it came time to film the scene, all the dogs would do was sniff at the carcass of the dead deer the crew had bought. They had to re-shoot the scene three days later. Then the crew stuffed the carcass with beef liver to get the dogs to attack.

It took three hours to shoot the famous eating scene, in which Tom Jones (Finney) and Mrs. Waters (Joyce Redman), express their lust for each other by tearing into a huge feast. Buckets were conveniently placed out of camera range to accommodate the actors, who kept throwing up from all the eating.

Shooting on Tom Jones concluded with studio work in London. By that time, the cast and crew were overwhelmed by the hard work and too many cut corners. Richardson and his company believed Tom Jones was going to be a major disappointment. When the head of United Artists' British office saw the first cut, he predicted disaster.

The British Board of Film Censors cut twelve seconds from the film to delete a cockfighting scene. Depictions of that particular form of animal cruelty are illegal in British films.

Although the first reviews in London of Tom Jones were far from favorable, audiences discovered the film on their own and turned it into a huge hit before it opened in the U.S.

by Frank Miller

SOURCES:
Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir
Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits
IMDB

Behind the Camera - Tom Jones - Behind The Camera on TOM JONES

Tony Richardson shot Tom Jones on location in the British countryside during the summer of 1962. Among the estates at which he shot were Nettlecoombe, which was a girls school at the time, and Cranborne, which included a garden labyrinth. Among the places in which the cast and crew stayed during filming were a castle and estate that included England's first scientific pig farm and a haunted house in Wiltshire. Because of his displeasure with his role, Albert Finney was sullen and withdrawn through most of the production. He would later say, "I just felt I was being used. I wasn't involved....I felt bored most of the time." Wilfrid Lawson, who played the gamekeeper, and Hugh Griffith, who played Squire Western, were drinking buddies and inveterate troublemakers. During location shooting in the seaside resort of Weymouth, they dangled a barmaid outside a window upside down. Griffith's drinking caused numerous production delays, particularly since for much of the shoot he commuted from London. Production assistants frequently had to track him down along the road to London, often finding him passed out. After Griffith accidentally hit several cast and crew members with his riding crop, Richardson had it specially wired to diminish its sting. It took two nights to film the sequence in which Squire Western chases after Tom. The second night, Griffith managed to undo the wiring on his riding crop, and actually hit Finney with it, drawing blood. In character, Finney turned on Griffith and said, "I can't abide to be whipped, Squire," then punched him in the face. Each stalked off the set, swearing never to work with the other again. The hunting scene posed special problems because the local hunters refused to cooperate, assuming the film would take an anti-hunting approach. The crew had to comb the countryside to find hounds people were willing to sell or rent. Richardson wanted to show the dogs tearing into the deer at the end, so the crew tried to keep the hounds hungry, as is the custom in hunting. The local huntsmen, getting wind of the schedule, broke into the kennel the night before and fed the dogs heartily. When it came time to film the scene, all the dogs would do was sniff at the carcass of the dead deer the crew had bought. They had to re-shoot the scene three days later. Then the crew stuffed the carcass with beef liver to get the dogs to attack. It took three hours to shoot the famous eating scene, in which Tom Jones (Finney) and Mrs. Waters (Joyce Redman), express their lust for each other by tearing into a huge feast. Buckets were conveniently placed out of camera range to accommodate the actors, who kept throwing up from all the eating. Shooting on Tom Jones concluded with studio work in London. By that time, the cast and crew were overwhelmed by the hard work and too many cut corners. Richardson and his company believed Tom Jones was going to be a major disappointment. When the head of United Artists' British office saw the first cut, he predicted disaster. The British Board of Film Censors cut twelve seconds from the film to delete a cockfighting scene. Depictions of that particular form of animal cruelty are illegal in British films. Although the first reviews in London of Tom Jones were far from favorable, audiences discovered the film on their own and turned it into a huge hit before it opened in the U.S. by Frank Miller SOURCES: Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits IMDB

Tom Jones


A lusty historical romp with a cheeky sense of humor and a rollicking energy, Tom Jones (1963) was at once a dramatic and a comic change of direction for director Tony Richardson, a serious young British director and producer and a leader in the "kitchen sink" movement of social realist films. Henry Fielding's 18th century novel "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" is a sprawling satire of high and low society as seen through the adventures of a bastard infant, adopted and raised by a kind and just country squire, and a parody of romantic conventions and epic storytelling with elements of both wry wit and broad burlesque. Richardson's film necessarily cut the 1,000-page novel down to a manageable size but otherwise is true to the tale of the young man sent from his home into the big city of London while pursuing the love of his life. What surprised audiences was the wicked sensibility. Richardson's Tom Jones is no dutifully reverent incarnation of a British classic but a liberating translation of a comic masterpiece with a modern sensibility and a style inspired by the freedoms of New Wave filmmaking.

The story of "Tom Jones, of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged," begins with the foundling discovered by Squire Allworthy (George Devine) in a scene played like a silent slapstick comedy and accompanied by a bouncy spinet accompaniment (which continues throughout John Addison's playful, Oscar®-winning score). Rising star Albert Finney plays the adult incarnation of the "incorrigible hero" who would rather hunt than study and dally with the "disreputable" peasant girl Molly (Diane Cilento) than just about anything else. Yet his devotion to his adoptive father is sincere and unflagging and his affection for his lovely neighbor Sophie Western (Susannah York, with a sunny smile and a playful spirit) never waivers, even if he never manages to steer clear of other women in the interim. But it's the conniving lies of his hypocritical cousin, Blifil (David Warner in his film debut), a stiff, sour-faced man who schemes behind a show of piety and enlists the household's two tutors in his campaign to discredit Tom, that finally banishes our lively hero from his country manor home and sends him on the road to London, where many more adventures await.

"Heroes, whatever high ideals we may have of them, are mortal, not divine," our narrator (Micheál MacLiammóir) reminds us. "We are as God made us, and many of us much worse." Tom drinks, carouses and duels. He's as quick to save a woman's honor as he is to take it, with her consent and collaboration, of course, and his weakness for the ladies lands him into more scrapes and scandals than Casanova. Finney plays Tom as a rascal, to be sure, but also a kind soul and a brave man and his rakish good looks and devilish smile make him more earthy and errant than immoral or uncaring.

Richardson directs it all as a rollicking romp full of comic escapades. A country stag hunt has all the dignity of a bacchanal, with riders mercilessly drawing blood as they spur their horses on (don't worry, it's fake), tumbling over in drunken sloppiness and leaving a wake of destruction behind. A "dinner date" with one Mrs. Waters (Joyce Redman) at a roadside inn turns eating into a sexual invitation, sucking the meat from lobster shells, slurping fowl lasciviously from bones, devouring fruit like it was the food of love, all the while flirting through mouthfuls and making come-hither eyes over the dishes. This display of lusty appetites, which film critic Arthur Knight called "the funniest and lewdest eating scene ever set to celluloid," is accomplished with nary a hint of nudity or even physical contact. The collision of characters later that evening becomes a bedroom farce filmed to give the actors the accelerated movement of a Keystone Kops comedy. And at any given moment, Tom and other characters may turn to the camera for a cheeky aside, a winking look of conspiratorial indulgence, or even a small speech to the audience to set the record straight.

Tom Jones was the biggest project to date for Richardson, both financially and physically. His previous features – Look Back in Anger (1958), The Entertainer (1960), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) and A Taste of Honey (1961) - were contemporary black and white productions set in the dreary realities of working class life. This big period production, shot in color, called for costumes and wigs, props and set dressing, numerous locations and a sprawling cast. There were horses and hounds to hire for the hunt scene, city streets and extras to dress, manor houses to find. Unable to finance it completely through Woodfall, his own production company, he turned to Hollywood and found a willing investor in United Artists, but he maintained control himself. He asked the acclaimed playwright John Osborne, who adapted his plays Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer for Richardson's film versions, to adapt Tom Jones for the screen. It was "as near as John and I got to collaborating successfully on film," according to Richardson in his autobiography, "The Long Distance Runner." He loved the wit that Osborne brought to the script, but Osborne was resistant to do rewrites and Richardson was forced to rework the screenplay himself through pre-production and even during shooting.

Albert Finney had made his screen debut in The Entertainer and became a leading man in the Richardson-produced Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Richardson thought the part was ideal for the rising star but "Albie didn't like the role," wrote Richardson. "He complained, sulked, and created scenes, and only fitfully... did he display the kind of buoyancy of temperament that his characterization so effectively portrayed on screen." For Squire Western, Sophie's heartily uncouth father, he cast Hugh Griffith: "unique, original, and Welsh." Western lives to hunt and to wench with red faced, wild-eyed bluster, which only becomes wilder when he discovers that Tom, his favorite hunting partner, is the object of his daughter's affections. "Part drunk, part amateur, wholly child, Hugh lives the part of Squire Western in real life," wrote Richardson. He recalls that Griffith was drunk through much of the film, and a terror with the whip that his character carried, mercilessly snapping at other actors until Finney hit back and punched him in the face.

In his autobiography, Richardson confesses that "I felt the movie too incomplete and botched in much of the execution" (in 1989 he trimmed the film by seven minutes for a re-release). United Artists thought the finished cut was a disaster, the London reviews were scathing and purists were appalled at the liberties taken with the literary classic. Yet Tom Jones became a popular box office hit, making an estimated $40 million (in 1963 dollars) on a budget of around $1 million, and won four Academy Awards out of ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. (As a side note, the success of the film turned Henry Fielding's novel into a bestseller more than two centuries after it was first published.) Tom Jones was fresh and facetious and young, reinvigorating an 18th century work for a new generation and making the classic swing with a modern sensibility. While it may not feel quite so modern more than forty years after its first release, its cheek and energy are just as entertaining.

Producer: Tony Richardson
Director: Tony Richardson
Screenplay: John Osborne; Henry Fielding (novel)
Cinematography: Walter Lassally
Art Direction: Ted Marshall
Music: John Addison
Film Editing: Antony Gibbs
Cast: Albert Finney (Tom Jones), Susannah York (Sophie Western), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Bellaston), Diane Cilento (Molly Seagrim), George Devine (Squire Allworthy), David Tomlinson (Lord Fellamar)
C-122m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Sean Axmaker

Tom Jones

A lusty historical romp with a cheeky sense of humor and a rollicking energy, Tom Jones (1963) was at once a dramatic and a comic change of direction for director Tony Richardson, a serious young British director and producer and a leader in the "kitchen sink" movement of social realist films. Henry Fielding's 18th century novel "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" is a sprawling satire of high and low society as seen through the adventures of a bastard infant, adopted and raised by a kind and just country squire, and a parody of romantic conventions and epic storytelling with elements of both wry wit and broad burlesque. Richardson's film necessarily cut the 1,000-page novel down to a manageable size but otherwise is true to the tale of the young man sent from his home into the big city of London while pursuing the love of his life. What surprised audiences was the wicked sensibility. Richardson's Tom Jones is no dutifully reverent incarnation of a British classic but a liberating translation of a comic masterpiece with a modern sensibility and a style inspired by the freedoms of New Wave filmmaking. The story of "Tom Jones, of whom the opinion of all was that he was born to be hanged," begins with the foundling discovered by Squire Allworthy (George Devine) in a scene played like a silent slapstick comedy and accompanied by a bouncy spinet accompaniment (which continues throughout John Addison's playful, Oscar®-winning score). Rising star Albert Finney plays the adult incarnation of the "incorrigible hero" who would rather hunt than study and dally with the "disreputable" peasant girl Molly (Diane Cilento) than just about anything else. Yet his devotion to his adoptive father is sincere and unflagging and his affection for his lovely neighbor Sophie Western (Susannah York, with a sunny smile and a playful spirit) never waivers, even if he never manages to steer clear of other women in the interim. But it's the conniving lies of his hypocritical cousin, Blifil (David Warner in his film debut), a stiff, sour-faced man who schemes behind a show of piety and enlists the household's two tutors in his campaign to discredit Tom, that finally banishes our lively hero from his country manor home and sends him on the road to London, where many more adventures await. "Heroes, whatever high ideals we may have of them, are mortal, not divine," our narrator (Micheál MacLiammóir) reminds us. "We are as God made us, and many of us much worse." Tom drinks, carouses and duels. He's as quick to save a woman's honor as he is to take it, with her consent and collaboration, of course, and his weakness for the ladies lands him into more scrapes and scandals than Casanova. Finney plays Tom as a rascal, to be sure, but also a kind soul and a brave man and his rakish good looks and devilish smile make him more earthy and errant than immoral or uncaring. Richardson directs it all as a rollicking romp full of comic escapades. A country stag hunt has all the dignity of a bacchanal, with riders mercilessly drawing blood as they spur their horses on (don't worry, it's fake), tumbling over in drunken sloppiness and leaving a wake of destruction behind. A "dinner date" with one Mrs. Waters (Joyce Redman) at a roadside inn turns eating into a sexual invitation, sucking the meat from lobster shells, slurping fowl lasciviously from bones, devouring fruit like it was the food of love, all the while flirting through mouthfuls and making come-hither eyes over the dishes. This display of lusty appetites, which film critic Arthur Knight called "the funniest and lewdest eating scene ever set to celluloid," is accomplished with nary a hint of nudity or even physical contact. The collision of characters later that evening becomes a bedroom farce filmed to give the actors the accelerated movement of a Keystone Kops comedy. And at any given moment, Tom and other characters may turn to the camera for a cheeky aside, a winking look of conspiratorial indulgence, or even a small speech to the audience to set the record straight. Tom Jones was the biggest project to date for Richardson, both financially and physically. His previous features – Look Back in Anger (1958), The Entertainer (1960), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) and A Taste of Honey (1961) - were contemporary black and white productions set in the dreary realities of working class life. This big period production, shot in color, called for costumes and wigs, props and set dressing, numerous locations and a sprawling cast. There were horses and hounds to hire for the hunt scene, city streets and extras to dress, manor houses to find. Unable to finance it completely through Woodfall, his own production company, he turned to Hollywood and found a willing investor in United Artists, but he maintained control himself. He asked the acclaimed playwright John Osborne, who adapted his plays Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer for Richardson's film versions, to adapt Tom Jones for the screen. It was "as near as John and I got to collaborating successfully on film," according to Richardson in his autobiography, "The Long Distance Runner." He loved the wit that Osborne brought to the script, but Osborne was resistant to do rewrites and Richardson was forced to rework the screenplay himself through pre-production and even during shooting. Albert Finney had made his screen debut in The Entertainer and became a leading man in the Richardson-produced Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Richardson thought the part was ideal for the rising star but "Albie didn't like the role," wrote Richardson. "He complained, sulked, and created scenes, and only fitfully... did he display the kind of buoyancy of temperament that his characterization so effectively portrayed on screen." For Squire Western, Sophie's heartily uncouth father, he cast Hugh Griffith: "unique, original, and Welsh." Western lives to hunt and to wench with red faced, wild-eyed bluster, which only becomes wilder when he discovers that Tom, his favorite hunting partner, is the object of his daughter's affections. "Part drunk, part amateur, wholly child, Hugh lives the part of Squire Western in real life," wrote Richardson. He recalls that Griffith was drunk through much of the film, and a terror with the whip that his character carried, mercilessly snapping at other actors until Finney hit back and punched him in the face. In his autobiography, Richardson confesses that "I felt the movie too incomplete and botched in much of the execution" (in 1989 he trimmed the film by seven minutes for a re-release). United Artists thought the finished cut was a disaster, the London reviews were scathing and purists were appalled at the liberties taken with the literary classic. Yet Tom Jones became a popular box office hit, making an estimated $40 million (in 1963 dollars) on a budget of around $1 million, and won four Academy Awards out of ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. (As a side note, the success of the film turned Henry Fielding's novel into a bestseller more than two centuries after it was first published.) Tom Jones was fresh and facetious and young, reinvigorating an 18th century work for a new generation and making the classic swing with a modern sensibility. While it may not feel quite so modern more than forty years after its first release, its cheek and energy are just as entertaining. Producer: Tony Richardson Director: Tony Richardson Screenplay: John Osborne; Henry Fielding (novel) Cinematography: Walter Lassally Art Direction: Ted Marshall Music: John Addison Film Editing: Antony Gibbs Cast: Albert Finney (Tom Jones), Susannah York (Sophie Western), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Bellaston), Diane Cilento (Molly Seagrim), George Devine (Squire Allworthy), David Tomlinson (Lord Fellamar) C-122m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Sean Axmaker

Critics' Corner - Tom Jones


AWARDS & HONORS

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 screen....in 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, http://filmref.com/

"...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

Critics' Corner - Tom Jones

AWARDS & HONORS 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 screen....in 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, http://filmref.com/ "...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

Rachel Kempson, 1910-2003


Rachel Kempson, the matriarch of the Redgrave acting dynasty, and a notable performer of the stage and screen in her own right, died on May 24 of natural causes at the home of her granddaughter, the actress Natasha Richardson in Millbrook, New York. She was 92. Her family of performers included Kempson's late husband, Sir Michael Redgrave, children Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave, and granddaughters Natasha and Joely Richardson.

Born on May 28, 1910, in Dartmouth, England, Kempson longed for a career in acting. She trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and made her professional stage debut in 1932 at the legendary Stratford-on-Avon Theater in the lead of Romeo and Juliet. She went on to perform with such distinguished theatrical companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English Stage Company and the Old Vic. In 1935 she was asked to star in the Liverpool Repertory production of Flowers of the Forest. Her leading man was Michael Redgrave, one of the top actors of his generation. Within a few weeks they fell in love and were married on July 18, 1935.

Kempson took a break for the next few years, to give birth to her three children: Vanessa, Corin and Lynn, but by the mid '40s, she came back to pursue her career in both stage and screen. She began to appear in some films with her husband: Basil Dearden's The Captive Heart (1946); and Lewis Gilbert's tough war drama The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954). She hit her stride as a character actress in the '60s with a string of good films: Tony Richardson's (at the time her son-in-law) hilarious, award-winning Tom Jones (1963); Silvio Narizzano's classic comedy Georgy Girl (1966) starring her daughter, Lynn; and John Dexter's underrated anti-war film The Virgin Soldiers (1969), again with Lynn. In the '80s Kempson had two strong roles: Lady Manners in the epic British television series The Jewel in the Crown (1984); and as Lady Belfield in Sydney Pollack's hit Out of Africa (1985), starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.

Kempson had been in semi-retirement after the death of her husband, Sir Michael in 1985. She made her last film appearance in Henry Jaglom's romantic Deja vu (1998) poignantly playing the mother to her real life daughter Vanessa. Kempson is survived by her three children and 10 grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Rachel Kempson, 1910-2003

Rachel Kempson, the matriarch of the Redgrave acting dynasty, and a notable performer of the stage and screen in her own right, died on May 24 of natural causes at the home of her granddaughter, the actress Natasha Richardson in Millbrook, New York. She was 92. Her family of performers included Kempson's late husband, Sir Michael Redgrave, children Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave, and granddaughters Natasha and Joely Richardson. Born on May 28, 1910, in Dartmouth, England, Kempson longed for a career in acting. She trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and made her professional stage debut in 1932 at the legendary Stratford-on-Avon Theater in the lead of Romeo and Juliet. She went on to perform with such distinguished theatrical companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English Stage Company and the Old Vic. In 1935 she was asked to star in the Liverpool Repertory production of Flowers of the Forest. Her leading man was Michael Redgrave, one of the top actors of his generation. Within a few weeks they fell in love and were married on July 18, 1935. Kempson took a break for the next few years, to give birth to her three children: Vanessa, Corin and Lynn, but by the mid '40s, she came back to pursue her career in both stage and screen. She began to appear in some films with her husband: Basil Dearden's The Captive Heart (1946); and Lewis Gilbert's tough war drama The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954). She hit her stride as a character actress in the '60s with a string of good films: Tony Richardson's (at the time her son-in-law) hilarious, award-winning Tom Jones (1963); Silvio Narizzano's classic comedy Georgy Girl (1966) starring her daughter, Lynn; and John Dexter's underrated anti-war film The Virgin Soldiers (1969), again with Lynn. In the '80s Kempson had two strong roles: Lady Manners in the epic British television series The Jewel in the Crown (1984); and as Lady Belfield in Sydney Pollack's hit Out of Africa (1985), starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Kempson had been in semi-retirement after the death of her husband, Sir Michael in 1985. She made her last film appearance in Henry Jaglom's romantic Deja vu (1998) poignantly playing the mother to her real life daughter Vanessa. Kempson is survived by her three children and 10 grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

It is not true that drink alters a man's character. It may reveal it more fully.
- Narrator
Sir, I will stand no jesting with this lady's character!
- Tom Jones
Better luck in the *next* world, Mr Jones.
- Lt. Northerton
It's a good night to be abroad and looking for game.
- Tom Jones

Trivia

Albert Finney felt the lead role wasn't serious enough, and agreed to star only if he got a producing credit; he later traded the credit for profit participation.

Hugh Griffith was reportedly drunk through much of the production; the scene in which his horse falls on him was not planned, and many believed he was saved by virtue of his inebriated condition. The film incorporated every frame of footage before rescuers entered the frame to save him.

Much of the scene in which Tom Jones and Mrs. Waters are eating together was improvised during the three hours it took to shoot, and the actors felt the effects from the food for days.

Notes

Copyright length: 127 min. Released in Great Britain in 1963; running time: 128 min. Sources conflict as to whether United Artists or its subsidiary, Lopert, released the film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted Best Picture and Best Director by the 1963 National Board of Review.

Voted Best Picture, Best Actor (Finney), and Best Director by the 1963 New York Film Critics Association.

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1963 New York Times Film Critics.

Winner of the Best Actor Prize (Finney) at the 1963 Venice Film Festival.

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States July 16, 1989

Released in United States October 7, 1963

Released in United States on Video March 11, 1992

Released in United States Summer June 26, 1963

Re-released in United States September 15, 1989

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (British Film Festival) October 31 - November 8, 1998.

Shown at Wine Country Film Festival in Healdsburg, California July 16, 1989.

Director Tony Richardson recut the re-released version, taking out 7 minutes.

Stereo Surround (video version)

Woodfall Film Productions was formed by Tony Richardson and John Osborne in 1958.

Re-released in Paris October 23, 1991.

Stereo (re-released version)

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Released in United States 1994 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "Laughter in the Dark: Tony Richardson" August 26 - September 13, 1994.)

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (British Film Festival) October 31 - November 8, 1998.)

Released in United States 2000 (Shown in New York City (Film Forum) as part of program "The British New Wave: From Angry Young Men to Swinging London" October 27 - November 16, 2000.)

Released in United States on Video March 11, 1992

Released in United States Summer June 26, 1963

Released in United States July 16, 1989 (Shown at Wine Country Film Festival in Healdsburg, California July 16, 1989.)

Re-released in United States September 15, 1989

Released in United States October 7, 1963