Tom Jones

Blu-Ray Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Tom Jones
Tom Jones

It is never easy to compile "special features" (Extras to you and me) when a film is older than DVDs. This lot is pushing the boat out which means you push the boat out when no one's looking and it floats away downstream before anyone notices there was nothing in it.

That's unfair.

Copy picture

Vanessa Redgrave talks for 10 mins about her late ex-husband Tony Richardson and you can sense her feeling of loss, not only for him and the marriage - no explanation about what happened there - but for that period in the Sixties when Tony and Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson and John Osborne and George Devine were creating ground breaking work at the Royal Court and later with Woodfall Films. She remembers Tony being such fun. "He was an iconoclast and critics didn't like that." They hated Tom Jones when it came out except the French adored it which influenced the Americans. When it opened in London's West End it was booked for two weeks and stayed for a year and a half. She called Tony a genius and called his film The Charge Of The Light Brigade genius as well. If those weren't tears on her cheeks it must have been a trick of the light.

Michael Billington's interview with Albert Finney 20 years after Tom Jones came out is in audio only. It lasts more than half an hour and Finney, who has a surprisingly posh voice, is a bit nervous at the start but relaxes once it reaches the important bit. The discussion is about him as an actor and the influence of Saturday Night And Sunday Morning and working with Karel Reisz and the whole coming from Salford and never going to the theatre before the age of 17 thing. The Tom Jones section is less than 10 mins. "It was chaotic," Finney remembers, meaning mostly a lot of fun except when he had to sit on a horse for hours doing nothing before galloping past the camera once.No one had a clue what was going on. They just had a great time. It was at the editing stage that Richardson was persuaded to bring in a narrator (Michael MacLiammoir) to explain the plot.

Walter Lassally, the cinematographer, has 25 mins talking about the use of hand held cameras, which was a new concept in those days, and a better way of shooting day-for-night. He made three films with Tony Richardson in 18 months ("It was always a lovely atmosphere"), including Tom Jones, which he didn't want to do at first, being such a big project with 16 weeks of shooting all on location. Anyway, he found ways of experimenting with different techniques. When the filming was finished he remembers that Richardson became deeply depressed. He didn't know why. At one point he went into the editing suite and started cutting stuff out, including much of Diane Cilento's scenes, which saddened Lassally because he thought she was so good.

George Devine Memorial Play: Luther consists of Albert Finney giving a fiery sermon as Martin Luther on a bare stage, half in colour, half in black-and-white, for 7 minutes. You have to admire his performance, which has nothing to do with Tom Jones.

The one-minute 1954 celebration marking the 200th anniversary of Henry Fielding's death in the USSR is pointless. The original trailer isn't up to much either.

Reviewed on: 01 Sep 2018
Share this with others on...
Tom Jones packshot
Adaptation of the 18th century classic about the adventures of a foundling.
Amazon link

Region: 0

Ratio: Aspect ratio 1.66:1 / BD50: 1080p, 24fps

Sound: PCM 2.0 stereo audio (48kHz/24-bit)

Extras: New 4K digital restorations of the original theatrical version of the film and the 1989 director's cut, The Guardian Interview: Albert Finney (1982, audio only), Vanessa Redgrave on Tony Richardson (2017), The USSR Today: Meeting To Mark the 200th Anniversary of Henry, Fielding's Death (1954), George Devine Memorial Play: Luther (1966), Walter Lassally on Tom Jones (2017), stills gallery, original trailer

Search database: