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Far From The Madding Crowd

4

Thomas Hardy's novels move with the rhythm of the seasons and so does this classic 1967 adaptation, filmed by John Schlesinger with an expansive sweep and pace. As headstrong landowner Bathsheba Everdene, Julie Christie was slated by some reviewers for being too modern. But then that's the whole point - Bathsheba's feisty independence puts her way ahead of her time.

In any case, the casting of her three suitors can't be faulted: Alan Bates as solid yeoman Gabriel Oak; Peter Finch as insecure, pompous Farmer Boldwood; and Terence Stamp, all waxed moustache and flashing arrogance as predatory Sergeant Troy. Outperforming them all, though, is the lush Wessex countryside, gloriously filmed in Panavision by Nicolas Roeg, then on the verge of his own directorial career. Richard Rodney Bennett's rousing, folk-based score brings an extra touch of class to the proceedings.

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