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Far From the Madding Crowd Movie Review

bathsheba love characters sergeant

1967 – John Schlesinger –

Far From the Madding Crowd is an ambitious but slack romantic epic that chronicles the life of a beautiful young woman, her relationships with the three men who love her and how their love changes her life. The movie is based on Thomas Hardy's classic 19th century novel. A poor farmer, Gabriel Oak (Alan Bates), is smitten early on by the beautiful Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie) and proposes marriage only to be refused because in Bathsheba's mind he is not good enough for her. He remains steadfastly by her, working on the farm she inherits from an uncle and becoming one of her most trusted employees, after he loses his own farm. A prosperous farmer down the lane, William Boldwood (Peter Finch), also falls desperately in love with Bathsheba. He too proposes marriage, but he too is refused because Bathsheba doesn't love him. It is the handsome young soldier, Sergeant Troy (Terence Stamp), who captivates Bathsheba's heart but with disastrous results.

Julie Christie is excellent as the young woman who is so enamored with the idea of love that she never sees the real thing standing before her. Soulful Alan Bates is likewise wonderful as the loyal friend who denies himself happiness for a woman who won't marry him. The strengthening bond between these two characters is a major element in the plot, but it isn't satisfactorily developed. Boldwood loves Bathsheba obsessively, and Sergeant Troy, who is described as a bad sort of man, loves Bathsheba for what she can do for him. A few subtle scenes shed a little light into the characters, but not enough for the audience to connect with them. The film is breathtakingly filmed and skillfully acted and the characters are often interesting. But their motivation for acting as they do is not always clear, nor is it always realistic. Perhaps it is simply that, after nearly three hours of a bittersweet love story, we still do not know these people well enough to be concerned about what happens to them.

Far From the Madding Crowd presents three very different types of love in the three men who love Bathsheba. It is more of a beautifully photographed and interesting film with a story that will keep an audience's attention rather than a gripping, emotional drama.

Cast: Julie Christie (Bathsheba Everdene), Peter Finch (William Boldwood), Alan Bates (Gabriel Oak), Terence Stamp (Sergeant Troy), Fiona Walker (Liddy), Prunella Ransome (Fanny Robin), Alison Leggatt (Mrs. Hurst), Paul Dawkins (Henry Fray), Julian Somers (Jan Coggan), John Barratt (Joseph Poorgrass), Freddie Jones (Cainy Ball), Andrew Robertson (Andrew Randle), Brian Rawlinson (Matthew Moon), Vincent Harding (Mark Clarke), Victor Stone (Billy Smallbury) Screenwriter: Frederic Raphael Cinematographer: Nicolas Roeg Composer: Richard Rodney Bennett Producer: Joseph Janni for MGM MPAA Rating: PG Running Time: 168 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards, 1967: Nominations: Score; National Board of Review Awards, 1967: 10 Best Films of the Year, Actor (Peter Finch).

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