Thursday, 7 May 2015

Far From The Madding Crowd

Carey Mulligan

I've never read any Thomas Hardy, so I know little about Bathsheba Everdene and " Far From The Madding Crowd" I think I saw the 1967 film version once, the one with the beautiful Terrence Stamp in, but I can't remember it very much save for the fact everyone in it looked very 1960s rather than 1870s
Today, I went to see an 11.40  am ( YES AM SHOWING!!!!!!how daring is that in North Wales) of the recent remake and I can honestly say it was one of the best films I have seen this year. Staring the perky and very likable Carey Mulligan as the independent Bathsheba, the film is an absolutely beautiful looking  journey into rural Dorset life of 150 years ago, where rosy faced ,bonnet wearing villagers toil away in the fields of wheat and flocks of sheep plummet from the coastal cliff fields onto the beach chased by stupid sheepdogs
Schoenaerts can look after my sheep anyday

Mulligan's Bathsheba is overly Earnest and pragmatic and so when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome soldier ( Tom Sturridge) it takes the audience a little by surprise when she says she had never been kissed in her life. A necessary piece of information required for a modern day audience to understand the whirlwind nature of the romance given the fact that the rugged and softly spoken Shepherd Gabriel Oak ( Matthais Schoenaerts) and the quietly despairing bachelor Mr Boldwood ( Michael Sheen) are standing in the wings wanting marriage and a settled down life.
Mulligan is cracking in the lead role but for me it is Schoenaerts who carries the entire film with a quietly assertive and understated performance that makes it's mark in every scene he appears in.
Sheen too is very impressive as the vulnerable and mentally more fragile Boldwood, so much so is that, I am sure he'll get a best supporting actor nod by the Academy Award board.

If you like a proper old fashioned romance...then go and see Madding Crowd...you won't be disappointed
9/10

51 comments:

  1. Good ratings from you and Ray! This means I'll definitely put it on my "Must See" list. I love "proper old fashioned romances".

    I also liked the 1967 version. I think we all had a crush on Terence Stamp at one time or another....

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    1. Hey, I'm the first person to comment today! That's an honor - - considering that you always receive about 5,000 comments
      (*smile*)

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    2. I must be about the only one who did NOT have a crush on Terence Stamp, though that was more because he was playing such an unsympathetic 'boundah' of a character. I fancied Alan bates much more - both way back in '67 and now. (Yes, yes, I know that Bates has been gone since some years).

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  2. Oh I must see this film !
    Thank You for the wonderful review.

    cheers, parsnip

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  3. I do not think that you have persuaded me to go and see this. I read Thomas Hardy for O Levels and he bored me ridged. Shame as I love a good film, even the dishy Stamp could not tempt me when I was young and foolish.

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  4. Terence Stamp has always had that broody quality... no, not like a fusty old hen either. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Michael Sheen, and Carey Mulligan is too cute for words. Don't really know much about Schoenaerts, but he certainly looks the part.
    This is another I'll have to look out.

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  5. Bathsheba Everdene needs a good slapping, if you ask me. Gabriel Oak is too good for her....

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  6. The 1967 film was not considered a great success and if it hadn't been for Terence Stamp and Julie Christie would have been a box office flop.

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    1. You may be right, Rachel, but I think that over time the '67 film has become appreciated more than it was when released, which I still vividly recall.

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    2. Yes, I should have said "at the time". John Schlesinger went on to have greater success with Midnight Cowboy two years later. I also recall the release, of both. My local cinema mis-spelt it as Far From the Maddening Crowd!

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    3. One would have hoped that whoever was responsible for that cinema notice might have at least recognised the source of of the novel's title. Alas, it's rather a futile expectation, no less now than it was then.

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  7. Hardy is one of my favorite authors; Far from the Madding Crowd is high on my list of a good read any day. You describe the movie characters exactly as they come from the book, and that is high recommendation for a film.

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    1. It's especially remarkable, Joanne, in that Carey M. has said that she hasn't read the novel, nor seen the earlier film. But somehow she has caught the spirit of the book Bathsheba.

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  8. I love Thomas Hardy and Tess of the D'urbervilles is one of my favourite books ever. I have never read Far From the Madding Crowd and now I want to read the book AND see the film. I can see you as a rosy faced bonnet wearing villager John - well you did wear the profs cap!

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    1. Do read 'Crowd', Simone. As another Hardy lover I rate it right up there with 'Tess'.

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    2. Thanks Raybeard - I look forward to getting it from the library.

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    3. ...but you haven't lived unless you have read Jude the Obscure at least twice.

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    4. My count with 'Jude' is four (to date), the same as for 'Crowd'. Along with 'Tess' they make an exceptionally fine 'trinity' - with several of his other works not far behind.

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    5. I don't rate Tess at all, it is a very pedestrian story and doesn't liven up until the last quarter. The Mayor of Casterbridge is way up there with Jude.

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    6. Well, there you are, Rachel! If I had to choose just one Hardy novel it would indeed be 'Tess'.
      Yes, 'Casterbridge' is another exceptional one - making me wish I hadn't confined my selection to just three.

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  9. I hope to see this soon

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  10. Ooooh I loved the book. Sounds like the film is a good one too.

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  11. Fuckity fuck....just typed a comment and forgot to sign in........oh well...x

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  12. This is now on my must see list; I showed this post to my husband and we want to see it.

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  13. Oooh THAT sounds good.

    Where do you go to watch a film at 11.40 am?

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    1. I managed to see it here in Worthing at ELEVEN o'clock - a.m., of course. Nah nah na-nah NAH!

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  14. We read this novel in high school and the film was brought in to the local theatre where we attended en masse. It made a big impression on me then and I still remember it now. Good to hear the re-make is a good one; more people will discover this very good story.

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  15. One of my favourite books John!

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  16. I saw this on Tuesday (but I stayed up late for the teatime showing here in Carmarthen!) I can also thoroughly recommend it - very well cast, and bits of Dorset as I remember them, and Hardy's story came across very well. I thought Michael Sheen was brilliant as Boldwood - he could also make a wonderful Charles Dickens looking as he did in this film.

    Hardy is my favourite author, and I know and love Dorset well, which probably helps. Tess is my favourite of his novels and it's about time they remade that again too.

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  17. P.S. Agree with you about Schoenaerts giving a quietly assertive feeling in his portrayal, whilst Michael Sheen was wonderfully twitchy and nervy as Boldwood (although I kept seeing a comic sparkle in his eye like he was about to grin). I've never seen Carey Mulligan in anything else and wasn't sure at first if she fitted the bill, but indeed she did.

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  18. Schoenaerts would leave you completely raddled. It's quite difficult to wash off you know, even in Welsh rain.I did Far From the Madding Crowd for O-Level English.

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    1. I also did it for O-level English.

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    2. Yes, it was the curriculum.

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  19. I love Thomas Hardy, and my gran was Dorset girl. I recently reread Jude the Obscure, and it whet my appetite for more Hardy. This goes right to the top of my ' to see' list. Thanks for the review..xx

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  20. There are so very few movies coming out today that I go see...I'm just an old romantic and really don't enjoy sitting thru 2 hours of violence and fear, and constant F-words....so happy to read your review of this movie...I see the DVD has no release date yet but I'll sure keep an eye out for it...it sounds like my kind of movie and, being a senior, I could sure use a good swoon! Thanks, John :)

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  21. As opposed to yourself, I think I've read every one of his books.... I went through a phase!

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  22. It's not the book, just a series of poorly connected highlights. But it does look very handsome.

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    1. I think that I (and J.G.) must have seen a different film.

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    2. The only truly great adaptation of a Hardy novel is Polanski's Tess. An extraordinary achievement and a truly moving film experience.

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    3. By the way, I always thought that Bathsheba was anything but pragmatic. Not a word you would ever use for somebody who makes such ridiculous choices.

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    4. Buisness wise she was very pragmatic .....romance wise she had her head turned by a pretty face!

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    5. The Polanski 'Tess' is extraordinary, not least for getting so much of the novel's detail into his film.

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  23. I studied the book for my 'O' levels. The teachers rigged up a cine camera thing for us to watch the film (it was the 70's, no dvd) and they swooned over Terence Stamp. As teenagers we didn't see the attraction.

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  24. Nothing really to add, J.G., apart from total agreement. (I've made various responses to a number of comments above.

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  25. Going out on a limb here, I found it a travesty of Hardy, superficial, badly written and badly directed. Hardy's farmers didn't live in palladian mansions! East Enders in drag. 2 out of 10.

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  26. Jenn, over at "Milkweed & Teasel" posted how the movie was shot on the estate where she and her husband were gamekeepers at the time. Very interesting info there. Pop over to visit.

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  27. I have had this book in my reading pile for a few months. I will pull it out and read it this weekend.

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  28. I liked the first movie with Julie Christie in the lead role but am very much looking forward to this one!

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  29. Whoop whoop for 'our Matthias'!

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