Far from the Madding Crowd

This movie portrayal of a Thomas Hardy book by Director John Schlesinger was released in 1967. I don’t care much for the one-dimensional way women are portrayed by Hardy and in this film even though both Julie Christie and Prunella Ransome do their best with Bathsheba and Fanny. The male characters are far more interesting and the three actors Peter Finch (William Boldwood), Alan Bates (Gabriel Oak) and Terence Stamp (Frank Troy) each do an excellent job particularly Finch.
But what I really like about this film is the capturing of the semi-fictional Wessex countryside and the camera work.  The cinematography at the beginning where Oak loses his entire livelihood due to his mad dog forcing them over a cliff was stunningly stark.  It really put me in that devastating scene and made me care for Oak’s loss.
I don’t think I’d rush out to buy it for my film collection but it was certainly worth watching once.


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