11 May 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd 2015
  • Director: Thomas Vinterberg
  • Based on novel by Thomas Hardy
  • Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Michael Sheen,
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Carey Mulligan – The Great Gatsby, Never Let Me Go, Public Enemies, An Education
    • Tom Sturridge – The Boat that Rocked, Being Julia
    • Juno Temple – The Dark Knight Rises, The Other Boleyn Girl, Atonement, Notes on a Scandal
    • Michael Sheen – Frost/Nixon, Blood Diamond, The Queen, Kingdom of Heaven, Wilde, Mary Reilly, Othello
  •  Why?  Hours to wait in Penzance before boarding the sleeper to Paddington Station in London.
  • Seen:  May 5, 2015 at the Merlin Cinema in Penzance, Cornwall. 

The 1967 version with Julie Christie and Alan Bates is a lot to live up to.  I’m sure they’re aware of that.
Dorset in 1870.  Independent young Bathsheba Everdene does not want a husband but she has three ardent suitors. Two of them are good honourable solid men. The third is a dashing red-uniformed soldier. Guess which one she chooses.
Thomas Hardy does not usually make things easy for his characters and his endings are not always happy. I won’t tell you the ending.
Dorset is beautiful. The scenery in the film is absolutely stunning; anything else would have been unacceptable.
Does it live up to the 1967 version?
Not fair. No one can live up to Christie and Bates. The three men do well in their roles, especially Schoenaerts, though he cannot top Bates as Gabriel Oak, and Sturridge isn’t as good as Terence Stamp as the soldier.  Sheen is good but he’s too young and too handsome to be quite convincing as the neighbouring rich farmer Boldwood. Mulligan does her best as Bathsheba, which is good but not enough. Julie Christie smoulders. Mulligan purses her lips, wrinkles her brow and smiles prettily.
It’s worth seeing but if you can find the 1967 version see that first.

2 ½ * of 5


Tin 2015
  • Director: Bill Scott
  • Based on novel: I think an author was listed but nothing is noted on IMdB
  • Cast: Jenny Agutter, Helen Bendell, Ben Dyson, Benjamin Luxon, Dean Nolan,
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Jenny Agutter – Love’s Labour’s Lost
  •  Why?  Recommended by our new friends HC and M-H as a film-dinner offer at the cinema in Penzance.
  • Seen:  May 2, 2015 at the Merlin Cinema in Penzance, Cornwall. 

Western Cornwall has had tin mines since before the Romans. This movie was filmed around here and the locals are proud of it. It will be interesting to see for many reasons. So what does it offer?
A touch of farce, more than a touch of melodrama, plenty of Cornish coastal cliffs.
It’s mid-19th century and the characters are shady bankers, a rapacious London investor, a pious fanatic with a Jesus complex and suppressed urges, a lovelorn loveable vicar, a mute wheelchair-ridden but tough old mother, a cheeky sensual housemaid with a mind of her own, a gracefully ageing opera singer in a travelling troupe and a ruined mine owner saved at the last minute by the discovery of copper in the depleted tin mine.
It has the charming feel of local amateur thespians who love what they’re doing and love their local history.
It’s very special to sit on the threadbare red velvet seats in this old classic cinema with the descendants of the tin miners (no doubt) with the sea visible just down the hilly streets of Penzance.
The film itself?  Most enjoyable.

3 * of 5