Far from the Madding Crowd (1967 film)

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Far from the Madding Crowd
Far From the Madding Crowd poster.jpg
Directed by John Schlesinger
Produced by Joseph Janni
Written by Frederic Raphael
Starring
Music by Richard Rodney Bennett
Cinematography Nicolas Roeg
Edited by Malcolm Cooke
Production
company
Release dates
  • 16 October 1968 (1968-10-16) (United Kingdom)
  • 17 October 1968 (1968-10-17) (United States)
Running time
169 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $2.75 million[2]
Box office $3.5 million (US/Canada)[3]

Far from the Madding Crowd is a 1967 British drama film adapted from Thomas Hardy's book of the same name. The film, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp, and Peter Finch, and directed by John Schlesinger, 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.

It was nominated for one Oscar for Best Original Music Score and two BAFTAs, Best British Cinematography (Colour) and Best British Costume (Colour) (Alan Barrett).

Plot[edit]

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 sergeant.

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 by consenting to be his wife.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film keeps close to the book.

The budget was $3 million, 80% of which was provided by MGM, 20% by Anglo-Amalgamated.[4]

The film was shot largely on location in Dorset and Wiltshire.

Reception[edit]

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 playing Bathsheba attracted some criticism at the time.[5]

The film performed well at the box office in the UK but was a commercial failure in the US.[2]

Far from the Madding Crowd received mixed to positive reviews from critics, as the film holds a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews.[6]

Awards[edit]

Won
Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (U)". British Board of Film Classification. September 15, 1967. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p362
  3. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  4. ^ Film Company a Hardy Lot: Film Company a Hardy Lot Marks, Sally K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 08 Jan 1967: n11.
  5. ^ [1] Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times review 23 January 1968
  6. ^ Far from the Madding Crowd at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]