Thomas Hardy novels have been the source of cinematic goodness since the invention of moving pictures. As it stands, there are roughly four different adaptations of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, one on The Claim, Under the Greenwood Tree and Jude as well as 2013’s under-seen movie triumph What Maisie Knew (which I urge you all now to go see, it will pull your heart down through your ass).
Anyway, another maddening (or maddinging if you’re a pun obsessive) prolific one, alongside Tess, is Far from the Madding Crowd which, since this year's version, will have four adaptations.
But the best version is the incredible John Schlesinger 1967 romp starring Julie Christie and Terence Stamp. A film that also, inexplicably, was critically and commercially panned on first release.
Schlesinger, here, wields his cinematic eye to great effect. His simply gorgeous movie is an enthralling spectacle of beauty that is drenched in the hues of summer. The shifting palettes of bright orange and yellow with the mellow greens and muddy blues make the film is a vivid and vibrant. It truly is wonderful to watch, your eyes darting over the rolling towns, fields and hills all in this quintessential period drama. It is magnificent, spectacular and highly visual, Far from the Madding Crowd is simply one of the most divine movies you’ll watch in cinemas this month
Out on DVD, there is no excuse not to see this film and hopefully, it’ll find it’s audience once more. It is an indictment of how the English countryside can enhance a viewing experience and it’ll make you appreciate, truly, how beautiful our blooming landscape is. With honest and poignant performances at the centre of it, Schlesinger has captured a host of critics who geniunely adore the film now. Far from the Madding Crowd is a sweeping sublimity that lingers on the emotion and lets it trickle throughout the English hills, rolling with the emerald grass and trees. Sweeping over the years, Far from the Madding Crowd has a high bar for this year’s adaptation to reach. At time's it does but you cannot beat this version., Schlesinger's is the triumphant
Far From The Madding Crowd is out on DVD now.