Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) dir. Richard Lester
I loved it! This Sondheim musical comedy spins an ever-thickening plot in ancient Rome. Zero Mostel as Pseudolus, an almost-free slave, is ridiculously funny and the rest of the large cast (which includes Buster Keaton), though overshadowed, is very good, too. The opening song is the most memorable while the others are never less than entertaining.

Barry Lyndon (1975) dir. Stanley Kubrick
Although Kubrick slavishly attended to every detail as always, his intrusiveness is almost invisible here. This tragedy, based on Thomas Hardy's novel, unfolds at a measured, human pace and is thus convincing in its dramatization of the complex and tortuous nature of life. Cf with Tom Jones and Portrait of a Lady for a neat trilogy.

Tom Jones (1963) dir. Tony Richardson
Based on Fielding's novel, this film goes enjoyably postmodern with knowing comments from the omnipresent narrator and the characters. Jones is a philanderer envied by the usual English prigs who, in the end, are unable to steal his wealth or keep him from marrying his one true love. Overall, a delightful and original movie.

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