Very British - Satires and grotesques

Tom Jones (1963)

literature, cinema, fine arts

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

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This film cleaned up at the Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Director (Tony Richardson), Best Writing Adapted Screenplay (John Osborne) and Best Original Music Score (John Addison). Not to mention six additional nominations. That's some notable British superiority. Almost impossible to comprehend. You might think of Henry Field's novel Tom Jones (1749) as somewhat tiresome compulsory reading. And no one would have expected a costume drama from this particular director, especially one so uproarious. At the time, Tony Richardson was known as an auteur of British Free Cinema for his beautiful yet serious analysis of society in Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Tom Jones, in contrast, is funny, irreverent and garrulous. At times it moves into a silent burlesque with ironic skits thrust into scenes, while it also doesn't shy away from bodily matters and bawdy jokes. What's more, at certain points the characters themselves begin discussing the film.
From Fielding's lengthy picaresque novel, dramatist John Osborne created a modern, picaresque screenplay. And he did so in a way that brilliantly brought Fielding's humour and biting satire to the 20th century. The film centres around a fresh wave of youth and freedom. If you have any reservations about stuffy costume dramas, fret not: the costumes are worn shamelessly, and there is certainly no chance of them being eaten by moths. The significant nods to the audience are clear, however: this is not really about 18th century England, but a hypocritical world where the wigs are worn by fools.

In English, with Hungarian subtitles.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest

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  • director
    Tony Richardson
  • host
    András Réz


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