Monday, October 25, 2010

1963: Tom Jones

In 18th century England, Tom Jones is abandoned as a baby, but Squire Allworthy takes him in and raises him as his own.  When Tom grows up, he falls in love with Sophie Western, but is still far from objecting to other women.  His escapades eventually lead Squire Allworthy to throw him out, forcing Tom to embark on a series of adventures that all seem to end up in a woman's bedroom, or prison.

This is an extremely silly and bizarre movie.  It seems very Monty Python-esque, except the humor isn't as good.  And while I love Monty Python, I don't consider it Best Picture material.  I have no idea why Tom Jones won this award.  There are a few aspects that I like: the occasional character-audience interactions are well-placed and amusing, and some of the jokes are quite funny.  The end is pretty good, in a ridiculous sort of way, but it's hardly worth wading through the rest of the film.  Many of the scenes drag on far too long, and it becomes tiresome to watch the same thing happen over and over again.  Tom meets a pretty woman.  He sleeps with her.  He gets chased away.  He meets another pretty woman, and it happens all over again.  I have just spoiled approximately 3/4 of the movie.

While I didn't particularly like the bulk of this film, I can see how it would be entertaining to a certain audience.  I wouldn't call it a bad movie, but I really don't think it deserved to be called the Best Picture of 1963.  I think that Lilies of the Field is a much more profound and important film than Tom Jones.

Next year's winner: My Fair Lady

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