TOM JONES
1963, Janus Films, 128 min, Dir: Tony Richardson

At the height of the British New Wave in the early 1960s, director Tony Richardson and playwright John Osborne set out for more fanciful territory than the gritty realism of the movement they’d helped establish. TOM JONES brings a theatrical flair to Henry Fielding’s canonical 18th-century novel, boisterously chronicling the misadventures of the foundling of the title (Albert Finney, in a career-defining performance), whose easy charm seems to lead him astray at every turn from his beloved, the well-born Sophie Western (Susannah York). This spirited picaresque, evocatively shot in England’s rambling countryside and featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, went on to become a worldwide sensation, winning the Oscar for best picture on the way to securing its status as a classic of irreverent wit and playful cinematic expression.


WAR AND PEACE
VOYNA I MIR
1967, Janus Films, 421 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Sergey Bondarchuk

At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could outdo Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic tome in which the fates of three souls - the blundering, good-hearted Pierre; the heroically tragic Prince Andrei; and the radiant, tempestuous Natasha - collide amid the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars. Employing a cast of thousands and an array of innovative camera techniques, Bondarchuk conjures a sweeping vision of grand balls that glitter with rococo beauty and breathtaking battles that overwhelm with their expressionistic power. As a statement of Soviet cinema’s might, WAR AND PEACE succeeded wildly, garnering the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and setting a new standard for epic moviemaking. "You are never, ever, going to see anything to equal it ... as spectacular as a movie can possibly be." - Roger Ebert.


SENSO
1954, Rialto Pictures, 123 min, Italy, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Against the backdrop of the Italian-Austrian war of unification, troubled Countess Livia Serpieri (Alida Valli) betrays her country for the love of an Austrian rogue, Franz Mahler (Farley Granger). As her resources dwindle, Livia comes to realize that their love might not be as pure as she thought. "A passionate and melodramatic romance, with doomed lovers, posturing soldiers, secret meetings at midnight, bold adultery and dramatic deaths. ... SENSO is lush, broadly emotional and beautifully photographed." - Roger Ebert.


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