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Director Tony Richardson and scripter John Osborne's sprawling, bawdy romp through 18th-century England earned four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Albert Finney stars as the titular hero, a charming country boy whose beguiling manner gets him into one hilarious romantic misadventure after another; based on the novel by Henry Fielding. With Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, David Warner, and Edith Evans.
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Counter to the more literary version of the BBC, Richardson's version is lively, vibrant, giving a good social picture of the late 18th century: The life of the peasants against that of the landed gentry, and the contrast of the various levels of city (ie London) life. In between the vagaries of overland travel, with bandits and daylight robbers, and the marching army pressing young men into their service.
Country taverns is where all travellers meet, urban and rural alike, and since all ways lead to or from London, many more people run into each other than they themselves expect. So eloped wives find irate husbands looking for them, and the anonymity with which many persons travel seems to be uncovered at the slightest occasion. Acting is good within the stereotype in which characters are cast, camera work is good and inventive, and the whole film a very pleasurable and witty entertainment.
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