Brits Put Cheek In Costumes
Tom Jones Gets the British Invasion Off To a 1963 Start
The saucy one that won Best Picture for 1963, then curdled somewhat in critical estimation (it dates, some say, or wasn't that funny to begin with). Also there's UA's negative gone pink plus loss of contrast in dark scenes; either way, Tom's no longer robust, even in HD. Could enough money salvage a once lush landscape, or more to point, would present owner MGM be willing to spend? Tom Jones is fun in a right spirit ... do revival houses ever use it? I'm curious as to how Tom would play to a modern audience. 1963 folk thought him the bawdiest delight of so-far cinema, a single-hand rout (by director Tony Richardson and writers) of long in-force censorship. I recall hot reputation the thing had, right unto NBC premiere play in later 60's, one of those for which you'd lower volume lest parents note what's on. Anyway, Tom seems to be among least-lauded "Best Pictures" of its era. Significant is fact there's not a Blu-ray available.
|Nicely Subtle and Suggestive 1963 One-Sheet|
Albert Finney looks at the camera like Oliver Hardy used to, a surprise conceit that delighted 60's audiences who'd not witnessed such cheek for years. Ugliness and cruelty of ye olden days aren't side-stepped: a hunt scene shows spurs dug into horseflesh close-up, and yes, it's sobering. Dogs and pigs are everywhere; we're made to know what a grubby era this was. Tom Jones stayed in profitable circulation for a long while ... I recall it coming back to our Starlight Drive-In on a double with Irma La Douce, the notion of paired libertines thought irresistible to parked viewership, in-car privacy lending opportunity to emulate salacious acts implied onscreen.