17. Tom Jones (B+)
We're only a few days away from the Academy Awards bestowing their top distinction for the 85th time, so I took the opportunity to take a look at one of the odder of the 84 previous honourees. Tony Richardson's freewheeling adaptation of a picaresque 18th century novel by Henry Fielding is not a great movie, in my opinion; but it's an interesting one, and having seen a decent number of old-style period pieces I can imagine this being quite a dramatic change for audiences in 1963. It's loose, funny, and fairly bawdy, as well as employing various stylistic and metafictional quirks that you wouldn't expect to find in a period novel adaptation (though it suits the novel; as with many writers in the 18th-19th century, Fielding's narrator wasn't shy about commenting on the story itself). It's sort of a warmer cousin to Kubrick's Barry Lyndon
. Albert Finney earned his first Oscar nomination as the title character, and he delivers a fine performance, though there's really not much to the part beyond acting charming. The recently departed Susannah York is his love interest, while David Warner makes his film debut as, fittingly enough, the bad guy (the first of many).
Home Video: 10 (+1)