Far from the Madding Crowd (1967 film)
|Far from the Madding Crowd|
Original film poster by Howard Terpning
|Directed by||John Schlesinger|
|Produced by||Joseph Janni|
|Written by||Frederic Raphael|
|Music by||Richard Rodney Bennett|
|Editing by||Malcolm Cooke|
|Release date(s)||October 18, 1967|
|Running time||168 min|
|Box office||$3,500,000 (US/ Canada)|
Far from the Madding Crowd is a 1967 drama film adapted from the book of the same name by Thomas Hardy. It stars Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp, and Peter Finch, and was directed by John Schlesinger. It was Schlesinger's fourth film (and his third collaboration with Christie) and marked a stylistic shift away from his earlier works which explored contemporary urban mores. The cinematography was by Nicolas Roeg and the soundtrack was by Richard Rodney Bennett. Traditional folk songs were also used in various scenes throughout the film.
Set in the rural West Country in Victorian England, the story features Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie), a beautiful, headstrong, independently minded woman who inherits her uncle's farm and decides to manage it herself, which engenders some disapproval from the local farming community. She hires a former neighbor, Gabriel Oak (Alan Bates), to be her shepherd; a rejected suitor, Gabriel lost his own flock of sheep when one of his dogs drove them over a steep cliff. Ignoring Gabriel's love, Bathsheba impulsively sends a valentine to William Boldwood (Peter Finch), a nearby gentleman farmer. When he misinterprets her capriciousness and proposes to her, Bathsheba promises to consider his offer. Instead, however, she becomes enamored of Frank Troy (Terence Stamp), a dashing cavalry officer. Unaware that Troy has refused to marry young Fanny Robin (Prunella Ransome), a maidservant pregnant with his child, because she embarrassed him by going to the wrong church on their wedding day, Bathsheba foolishly becomes his wife. After Troy has gambled away most of Bathsheba's money and created disharmony among the farmhands, he discovers that Fanny has died in childbirth. Filled with remorse, he swears that he never loved Bathsheba, walks out on her, and disappears into the ocean. Bathsheba then promises to marry Boldwood when Troy is declared legally dead; but Troy appears at their engagement party and the nearly deranged Boldwood kills him. Shortly after Boldwood has been sent to prison, Gabriel tells Bathsheba that he is planning to emigrate to America. Realizing how much she has always needed his quiet strength and unselfish devotion, Bathsheba persuades Gabriel to remain in Weatherbury as her husband.
The film is faithful to the book except as to the fate of Boldwood, who in the novel is declared insane but in the film is shown awaiting execution for killing Troy when the latter returned to claim Bathsheba after it had been presumed he had drowned at sea. The film was shot largely on location in Dorset and Wiltshire.
The film is memorable for the subtly erotic scene between Sgt. Troy and Bathsheba in which he flaunts his expert skills as a swordsman in a private fencing display in a prehistoric earthwork (actually Maiden Castle) with an enthralled Bathsheba standing immobile before him. The choice of Christie attracted some criticism at the time.
The film performed well at the box office in the UK but was a commercial failure in the US.
- National Board of Review Award for Best Film
- National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (Peter Finch)
- Academy Award for Best Original Score
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama (Alan Bates)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress (Prunella Ransome)
- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
- BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design
- Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p362
- "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
-  Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times review 23 January 1968
- See screenshots and read more about the film at The Alan Bates Archive.
- Far from the Madding Crowd at the Internet Movie Database