Far From the Madding Crowd
Time Out says
Long regarded as something of a failure (it didn’t even crack Time Out’s 100 best British films poll), John Schlesinger’s swooning 1967 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel is reissued ahead of a new version starring Carey Mulligan in May.
And guess what? It’s gorgeous, one of the most entrancing and elemental landscape films ever shot in these isles, thanks in large part to Nicolas Roeg’s peerless cinematography and Schlesinger’s decision to cram the soundtrack with folk songs and country dances.
Hewing close to Hardy’s story, the film follows headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie), whose heart drifts between three troubled, largely undeserving men: Grenadier Troy (Terence Stamp, dashing), landowner Boldwood (Peter Finch, craggy) and healing-handed farmer Oak (Alan Bates, windswept).
It’s possible to pick holes in the characterisation – proto-feminist Bathsheba falls far too easily for Stamp’s swinging ’60s smarm – and the pacing does flag over almost three hours. But rarely has a film so beautifully explored the relationship between the land and its people, and rarely has the English heartland looked so wild and glorious.
Cast and crew