Far from the Madding Crowd

1967

Action / Drama / History / Romance

28
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 78%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 4391

Synopsis


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Cast

Julie Christie as Bathsheba
Terence Stamp as Sergeant Troy
Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak
Freddie Jones as Cainy Ball
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.03 GB
1280*720
English
23.976 fps
2hr 48 min
P/S 1 / 5
2.27 GB
1920*1080
English
23.976 fps
2hr 48 min
P/S 4 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gavin6942 6 / 10

Bland But Alright

Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie), a willful, flirtatious, young woman, unexpectedly inherits a large farm and is romantically pursued by three very different men.

Roger Ebert wrote, "Thomas Hardy's novel told of a 19th century rural England in which class distinctions and unyielding social codes surrounded his characters. They were far from the madding crowd whether they liked it or not, and got tangled in each other's problems because there was nowhere else to turn. It's not simply that Bathsheba (Julie Christie) was courted by the three men in her life, but that she was courted by ALL three men in her life." This is an interesting point. What he is essentially saying is that this upper class does not have to deal with the lower classes, but due in part to their limited numbers, they are forced to deal with each other. One supposes this could be said of the royal families in ages past -- marriages could be based on love, but it would be a limited love due to its bracketing of certain options.

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 10 / 10

Perfect! Just perfect!

Copyright 18 October 1967 by Vic Films/Appia Films/Joseph Janni Productions. New York opening at the Capitol: 18 October 1967. U.S. release: September 1967. U.K. general release: 27 October 1968 (sic). Australian release: 22 February 1968. Original running time: 175 minutes. In the U.S. the running time was reduced firstly to 169 minutes for premiere engagements, then to 143 minutes for second- runs at "popular prices". The U.K. general release version clocked in at 168 minutes.

COMMENT: I am not a fan of director John Schlesinger who delighted critics with such films as "A Kind of Loving" (1962), "Billy Liar" (1963), "Darling: (1965), "Midnight Cowboy" (1969), and "Sunday, Bloody Sunday: (1972). The only one of these movies I found even modestly entertaining was "Billy Liar". Schlesinger no doubt would place himself firmly in the contemporary realism-at-all-costs school. So "Far From the Madding Crowd" is for him, something of an exception. A period romantic drama, which he has brought vividly, vibrantly and realistically to life, abetted by a fine cast and brilliant technicians.

A no-expense-spared movie, this Hardy adaptation gains more than it stood to lose by what was touted as Schlesinger's uncompromisingly realistic approach. In point of fact, the director has yielded to some of the Romanticism inherent in the novel. This is good, because the picture now has a perfect balance between the Realistic and the Romantic.

Julie Christie's portrayal also comes as something of a pleasant surprise. She is astonishingly effective as a Romantic heroine. I would class this Bathsheba as her most memorable performance. Although she rightly dominates the film, she receives brilliant support from Alan Bates and Terence Stamp. Our own Peter Finch is more than merely adequate, though he does seem a bit uncomfortable. Whereas the other players wear their period clothes as if to the raiment born, Finch seems to me slightly miscast. But this is just a personal impression. I'm relying on memory, because of course the film hasn't been seen for thirty years. It is certainly overdue for a revival and re- assessment.

Nick Roeg's brilliantly evocative cinematography was rightly praised by contemporary critics, who also singled out the marvelous sets and costumes, as well as Richard Rodney Bennett's wonderful score, with its inspired use of provincial folk songs.

Reviewed by tomsview 9 / 10

A country affair

Although "Far from the Madding Crowd" had some of the qualities of the more successful "Doctor Zhivago" - a lavish period setting, sweeping photography and a luminous Julie Christie - "Zhivago" suited the 60's more with its story set against a period of upheaval and massive change. "Far from the Madding Crowd" is subtler; the turmoil is personal, the pace more sedate - a forerunner of the Merchant Ivory productions of the 1980's.

Although the film has held up well, few now are likely to see it the way we did back then in all its stunning 70mm glory with Richard Rodney Bennett's overture sweeping you up before the curtains even opened. And it took its time to unfold with an intermission to give extended bladders a break.

Set along the Dorset coast around 1870, Julie Christie plays Bathsheba Everdene, a woman who turns the heads of three men: one who loves her too much, one who doesn't love her enough and one who loves her about right. The three are William Boldwood (Peter Finch), Francis Troy (Terrence Stamp) and Gabriel Oak (Alan Bates).

They represent different classes: William Boldwood the landed gentry, Gabriel Oak the poor, but dependable farmer while Frank Troy is a soldier, the bad boy Bathsheba falls for.

Along with storms, barn fires and haywaining, the passions run deep, all masked behind Victorian propriety. When you see pictures of dour-looking old Thomas Hardy, it's hard to believe he penned this tale of unrequited love, obsession and jealously, and also created the strong-willed and free-spirited character of Bathsheba Everdene.

Director John Schlesinger built on that independent spirit. Critics thought Christie's Bathsheba too modern, but they probably still had "Darling" in mind. These days we can appreciate the film in isolation. Julie Christie gave a nuanced performance; confident when warding off the advances of those she felt less passionate about, but vulnerable when the tables are turned.

Peter Finch just got better with age; he quietly delivers the proud gentleman who is humiliated by his obsession for Bathsheba. Terrence Stamp and Alan Bates also deliver powerfully realised characters.

A highlight of the film is Richard Rodney Bennett's score, which gives Vaughan Williams a run for his money with its haunting flutes and lyrical sense of folksong.

There are other versions. The expanded 1998 one starring Paloma Beaza as a flightier Bathsheba and the condensed 2015 one with angelic-looking Carey Mulligan had their moments, but it's still the 1967 version that stays with me.

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