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Tom Jones is a 1963 British comedy film. It is an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), starring Albert Finney as the titular hero. It was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular comedies of its time, winning four Academy Awards. The film was directed by Tony Richardson and the screenplay was adapted by playwright John Osborne. The film is notable for its unusual comic style: the opening sequence is performed in the style of a silent movie, and characters sometimes break the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera and addressing the audience.

Synopsis

The story begins with a silent-movie sequence during which the good Squire Allworthy returns home after a lengthy stay in London and discovers a baby in his bed. Thinking that his barber, Mr. Partridge, and one of his servants, Jenny Jones, have "birthed" the infant out of lust, the squire banishes them and chooses to raise little Tom Jones as if he were his own son.

Tom (Albert Finney) grows up to be a lively young man whose good looks and kind heart make him very popular with the opposite sex. However, he truly loves only one woman, the gentle Sophie Western (Susannah York), who returns his passion. Sadly, Tom is stigmatized as a bastard and cannot wed a young lady of her high station. Sophie, too, must hide her feelings while her aunt (Edith Evans) and her father, Squire Western (Hugh Griffith) try to coerce her to marry a more suitable man - a man whom she hates.

This young man is Blifil (David Warner, in his film debut), the son of the Squire's widowed sister Bridget (Rachel Kempson). Although he is of legitimate birth, he is an ill-natured fellow with plenty of hypocritical 'virtue' but none of Tom's warmth, honesty, or high spirits. When Bridget dies unexpectedly, Blifil intercepts a letter which his mother intended for her brother's eyes only. What this letter contains is not revealed until the end of the movie; however, after his mother's funeral, Blifil and his two tutors, Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square, join forces to convince the squire that Tom is a villain. Allworthy (George Devine) gives Tom a small cash legacy and sorrowfully sends him out into the world to seek his fortune.

In his road-traveling odyssey, Tom is knocked unconscious while defending the good name of his beloved Sophie and robbed of his legacy. He also flees from a jealous Irishman who falsely accuses him of having an affair with his wife, engages in deadly swordfights, meets his alleged father and his alleged mother, saves a certain Mrs. Waters from an evil Redcoat Officer, and later beds the same Mrs. Waters. In a celebrated scene, Tom and Mrs. Waters sit opposite each other in the dining room of the Upton Inn, wordlessly consuming an enormous meal while gazing lustfully at each other.

Meanwhile, Sophie runs away from home soon after Tom's banishment to escape the attentions of the loathed Blifil. After narrowly missing each other at the Upton Inn, Tom and Sophie arrive separately in London. There, Tom attracts the attention of Lady Bellaston (Joan Greenwood), a promiscuous noblewoman over 40 years of age. She is rich, beautiful, and completely amoral. Eventually, Tom ends up at Tyburn Gaolmarker, facing a boisterous hanging crowd after two blackguardly agents of Blifil frame him for robbery and attempted murder. Squire Allworthy learns the contents of the mysterious letter: Tom is not Jenny Jones's child, but Bridget's illegitimate son and Allworthy's nephew. Furthermore, since Blifil knew this, concealed it, and tried to destroy his half-brother, he is now in disgrace and disinherited. Allworthy uses this knowledge to get Tom a pardon, but Tom has already been conveyed to the gallows; his hanging is begun, but is interrupted by Squire Western, who cuts him down and takes him to Sophie. Tom now has permission to court Sophie, and all ends well with Tom embracing Sophie with Squire Western's blessing.

Production

Bridgwatermarker's Castle Street was used as a location in several scenes.

Releases

The film was reissued in 1989; for this release, Richardson trimmed the film by seven minutes. The original full-length version is now once again available on DVD.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Wins Nominations

Tom Jones is the only film in the history of the Academy in which three actresses were nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar. All three nominations were unsuccessful, however, as the Academy Award in this category went to Margaret Rutherford for her role in The V.I.P.s.

BAFTA Awards

Wins Nominations
  • Best British Actor (Albert Finney)
  • Best British Actor (Hugh Griffith)
  • Best British Actress (Edith Evans)


Golden Globe Awards

Wins
  • Best English-Language Foreign Film
  • Best Motion Picture - Comedy
  • Most Promising Newcomer - Male (Albert Finney) (tied with Stathis Giallelis for America, America (1963) and Robert Walker Jr. for The Ceremony (1963).
Nominations
  • Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy (Albert Finney)
  • Best Motion Picture Director (Tony Richardson)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Joan Greenwood)


Other awards

New York Film Critics Circle Awards Venice Film Festival
  • Volpi Cup: Best Actor (Albert Finney)
  • Golden Lion: Tony Richardson (nom)
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
  • Best British Comedy Screenplay (John Osborne)
Grammy Awards
  • Best Original Score from a Motion Picture (John Addison)
  • Best horse stunts and fencing sequence by stuntman & stunt director (Ray Austin)


Cast




























































Footnotes

  1. Tom Jones - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - New York Times
  2. Tom Jones Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes


External links




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