Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Which is Hotter?

Alan Bates or Matthias Schonaerts as
Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd?

I never got around to watching John Schlesinger's 1967 version of Thomas Hardy's book before seeing Thomas Vinterberg's great big brand new 2015 edition -- you can read my review of the latter right here; suffice it to say, I adored it. Anyway I watched Schlesinger's film last night and it too was good! There were little character touches that were missing from the new more-condensed version that clicked some folks (Fanny and Mr. Boldwood, specifically) into place; Peter Finch's last scene as Boldwood especially worked better for me than what Michael Sheen was handed.

But ya know what? It could just be a case of which you see first but I still prefer Vinterberg's film. It felt more interested in Bathsheba and her inner life; the 1967 film captures the scope of the story but it didn't leave me particularly moved in the end, and it's very nearly more interested in each of her suitors than it is in its central figure... even if Julie Christie is, as always, a captivating diamond shining on the screen.


sowhatelse said...

I liked both versions but having seen the older one years ago, I had a hard time seeing Carey Mulligan in the role after being blown away by Julie Christie, who has always been a favorite. As you noted, the older movie also delves more deeply into some plot points that are helpful to know.

I've been following Matthias' career for several years, so the newer version was obviously the stuff that dreams are made of. I had to wonder if his agent was in charge of editing the movie, so lovingly was he presented. Not that I'm complaining!

joel65913 said...

It's killing me that I still haven't had a chance to catch the new version and your loving review has quieted some of my fears about that nearly hour long difference in running times but I adore the original. Aside from the brilliance of all the actors, although Matthias is one fine piece of man I voted Alan Bates in the poll-anyone who can rock that awful beard sans balancing moustache style like he does in the film gets my vote, the original is so gorgeously photography some scenes are like paintings. The acting in the first will be hard to beat especially Finch-so tragic and Bates who for me was best in show.

Anonymous said...

I am also impressed Bates didn't look terrible with that facial hair but I picked Matthias. He looked gorgeous. The cinematographer must have loved him.

Pierce said...

John Schlesinger directing Julie Christie and Terence Stamp (the Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, Friday night line from Waterloo Sunset), who were having an affair during the filming, Alan Bates and Peter Finch in that beautiful book by Thomas Hardy. What's not to like? It has passion and romance! I have no interest in the Carey Mulligan version. The 1967 version is perfection!

Anonymous said...

I haven't yet seen the 1967 version but I liked the 2015 version.