BRITISH SIXTIES WEEK
"The whole world loves Tom Jones!" boasts the movie poster. Well, almost the whole world. How long have I been hearing about how great this movie is? Winner of four Oscars (including Best Picture) and nominated for several others, Tom Jones is based on the famous Henry Fielding novel and stars Albert Finney as the title character, born a bastard but destined for greatness—after a lot of swordfighting and sex, at any rate. Indeed, it's a lavish spectacle, with costumes and sets looking as if they'd come straight from the 1700s. But to me, this was a colossal bore. As my friend Joan is fond of saying, this was obviously a movie of its time—what must have seemed daring and ribald in 1963 seems cutesy and tame 45 years later. All the reviews talk about how "hilarious" the movie is, but I don't think I even smiled once.
Familiar faces kept turning up in the cast and credits—names I've seen all through British Sixties Week. The screenplay was by John Osborne, who would go on to write Inadmissible Evidence five years later. Lead actor Finney was also the star of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; David Warner (of Morgan) shows up as a scoundrel; and Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl) is briefly seen in what turns out to be her very first movie. This may be the first time I've seen the ravishing Susannah York—and I sure hope it's not the last.
Earlier this evening, I had a discussion with a friend about the true meaning of "overrated." Tom Jones might just be the dictionary definition of same. I am going to spend the rest of the evening trying to forget its authentic-sounding but nevertheless annoying harpsichord soundtrack. Oh, well, cross another supposed masterpiece off the list. Rating: 2/5.