Far From the Madding Crowd

Film, Drama
Recommended
5 out of 5 stars
Far From the Madding Crowd

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

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.

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Details

Release details

Release date:
Thursday March 12 2015
Duration:
168 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
John Schlesinger
Screenwriter:
Frederic Raphael
Cast:
Julie Christie
Terence Stamp
Alan Bates