TOM JONES – John Addison
Original Review by Craig Lysy
Producer and director Tony Richardson drew inspiration from an 18th century English novel “A History of Tom Jones, a Foundling”, by Henry Fielding. He hired John Osborne to adapt it to the big screen and cast the film audaciously, selecting rising star Albert Finney for the titular role. Rounding out the cast was Susannah York (Sophie Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Ballaston), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western) and making his film debut, David Warner as the villain Blifil. The story offers a classic period piece full of drama, treachery, seduction and intrigue. Squire Allworthy discovers an infant on his bed and chooses to raise little Tom Jones as if he were his own son. Tom’s grows up to become an attractive, dashing, and very popular young man with the ladies, It comes to pass that he falls madly in love with Sophie, who returns his affections. Yet there is an insurmountable impediment – Tom is stigmatized as a bastard, and Sophie’s father forbids her to wed a man below her station. Blifil who seeks Allworthy’s estate engineers Tom’s dishonor and dismissal by Squire Allworthy. An irrepressible Tom however is not to be denied, and he travels far and wide, all the time enjoying a multiplicity of women, fine food and drink along the way! As fate would have it he ultimately triumphs, overcoming all obstacles set against him, and earns Sophie’s hand in marriage when his true identity as Bridget’s Allworthy’s illegitimate son and Allworthy’s nephew is finally revealed. The film was both a commercial and critical success, earning an amazing ten Academy Award nominations, winning four, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Score.
Richardson had successfully collaborated with Addison on several films before including; Look Back In Anger (1959), The Entertainer (1960), A Taste Of Honey (1961), and The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (1962), and so he was a natural choice for the film. The two achieved a remarkable synergy seldom realized in film. Addison clearly understood Richardson as a director and so crafted a truly rollicking, raucous, and eclectic score, which was perfectly attenuated to Richardson’s unconventional and free wheeling directorial style. For the score, Addison created several themes including; the Main Theme where we witness a spirited joining of harpsichord and an out of tune piano. The melodic line is animated, with a slapstick comedic quality, which perfectly establishes, and captures the film’s spirit. The Love Theme offers a free flowing, lilting piano form imbued with the sensibilities of a Waltz. Partridge’s Theme supports him later in the film and is carried by plucked guitar and flows with a dance-like sensibility The Seduction Theme is a jaunty line for saxophone, guitar and woodwinds, which often supports Tom’s numerous sexual conquests. The Tom Jones March is emoted with the classic sensibility of a march, yet one that is off color, has a faux pomp, and is frankly, corny. Lastly, Addison interpolates in comedic form the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts.
In “A Woodfall Film/Prologue” we open as a silent film with captioned dialogue. We see Squire Allworthy return to his estate and discover a child lying in his bed. He banished the two servants he suspects and decides to raise the child as his son. Addison sets the tone of the film with a full exploration of the zany, quirky and frankly silly Main Theme, which is propelled by an out of tune piano and harpsichord animato. The pairing of film and music seems incongruous, but Addison understands Richardson’s vision. We segue into the “Main Titles”, where the credits run over a close up of the infant Tom Jones. Addison offers an ABA musical statement where his zany Main Theme is announced by comic fanfare and brackets Tom Jones March, which is introduced after a bridge at 1:02. How can anyone not be laughing at this point! “Sophie” introduces the Love Theme, which also has a comic seductive sensibility, and is born in dance form by solo piano, solo violin and harp. The theme supports scenes throughout the film, that feature Tom’s infatuation with Sophie.
“Take That, You Hussy/Tom to the Rescue” opens with the saxophone carried Seduction Theme, which again supports one of Tom’s conquests. We segue atop the Main Theme as Tom rescues Sophie, whose horse has bolted. She is grateful and her theme mellows with her gratitude, becoming gentile and tender. “Tom and Sophie Montage” is multi-scenic and reveals Tom and Sophie enjoying each other’s company in various romantic settings. Both have taken a fondness to each other and begin to fall in love. Richardson again reverts to having the montage shot as a silent film, with only Addison’s score carrying it. Addison renders his lilting piano born Love Theme in a myriad of forms. The Main Theme interrupts the cue’s narrative flow with its comic silliness, before resolving upon the Love Theme on solo violin. Nicely done! In “Tom and Molly” Tom visits Molly who is pregnant, fearing that he is the father. Yet her deception is revealed when Tom discovers a paramour hiding in her bedroom! Addison features an exquisite solo violin emoting the Love Theme, which sours and descends into comedy when Molly’s lover is revealed.
“Miss Western Arrives” supports her arrival and features a full rendering of the Tom Jones March, which is emoted with its a faux pomp. “Don’t Marry Mr. Bliful/The Ghost Walks” reveals Tom begging Sophie not to agree to her arranged marriage. This is an astounding score highlight where Addison dazzles us with interplay of his Main Theme, the Love Theme, the Tom Jones March and his comedic rendering of the traditional British hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past”. “Sneaking Around” reveals bassoons carrying a plodding variant of the March as Tom sneaks about. As he is discovered he escapes atop a zany variant of the Main Theme. In “Tom and Partridge – Mine is a Sad Story” Tom meets Partridge, who tries to rob him and fails. Partridge relates how he was falsely accused of being his father and banished. Addison introduces Partridge’s Theme on guitar to support the reunion. “The Masked Ball” reveals Tom receiving an invitation and mask by Lady Ballaston to attend a masked ball, as she secretly lusts for him. Addison supports the gaiety and her enticement with a classic Minuet.
In “Tom and Lady Bellaston” Tom once again secures another conquest as he joins a very willing Lady Ballaston in her bedchamber. Addison wonderfully supports the tryst with interplay of the Tom Jones March and Seductions themes. “Swordplay” reveals an aggrieved Mr. Fitzpatrick starting a duel with Tom Jones, believing that he had seduced his wife. Lively action music set to the Main Theme supports the duel and Tom’s victory. Addison offers the source song “If He Swing by the String” as Tom awaits his fate with the gallows. It reprises later in the film as Tom is strung up. In “Partridge’s Plan” seeks witnesses that can come to Tom’s defense and overturn his conviction. His theme carries his efforts. “The Truth and the End” offers an amazing cue, which reveals Miss Western interceding for Tom with Squire Allworthy, disclosing the truth of Tom’s true parentage as the son of his sister Bridget and therefore his nephew. Squire Western comes to Tom’s aid, cutting him down from the gallows. Squire Allworthy acknowledges Tom’s familial ties, appoints him as heir to his estate, and grants him permission to wed Sophie. Addison supports the complex multi-scene narrative with spirited interplay of his Main Theme, the Seduction Theme, Partridge’s Theme and the Love Theme. How he weaves his themes together is wonderful, as is the raucous ending. We segue into “End Titles” as Tom and Sophie embrace, supported by the Love Theme and on final statement of the Main Theme. Bravo!
Please allow me to thank Bruce Kimmel and Kritzerland for this splendid release of the original score. The digital transfer and mastering is first rate and the presentation of the cues in proper order, much appreciated. in Academy Award lore, Tom Jones is definitely the road less traveled! The music is quirky, zany, raucous and comedic, if not silly. That the Academy chose to award this score its highest honor over competitors such as Alex North’s “Cleopatra”, Alfred Newman’s “How The West Was Won”, and Dimitri Tiomkin’s “55 Days in Peking”, is amazing. Yet win it did, as they correctly recognized that Addison fully understood director’s Richardson’s vision, the film’s narrative and most of all, the titular character, Tom Jones who animates this film. The score is light, fun, never boring and in the final analysis an enjoyable, albeit unusual listen. For Academy Award score completists, intrepid film score collectors and lovers of comedic scores, I recommend you acquire this wonderful score.
Buy the Tom Jones soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store
- A Woodfall Film/Prologue (3:25)
- Main Titles (1:45)
- Sophie (1:39)
- Take That, You Hussy/Tom to the Rescue (1:55)
- Tom and Sophie Montage (4:27)
- Tom and Molly (1:21)
- Miss Western Arrives (1:08)
- Don’t Marry Mr. Bliful/The Ghost Walks (3:39)
- Sneaking Around (1:51)
- Tom and Partridge – Mine is a Sad Story (2:08)
- The Masked Ball (2:53)
- Tom and Lady Bellaston (1:38)
- Swordplay (1:44)
- If He Swing by the String (1:15)
- Partridge’s Plan (1:17)
- The Truth and the End (3:18)
- End Titles (0:51)
- Main Title (3:20) – Original LP Version
- Love Theme From Tom Jones (1:39) – Original LP Version
- Sylvan Misadventures (1:55) – Original LP Version
- Wine and Women (1:21) – Original LP Version
- The Grim Guardians of Justice (1:08) – Original LP Version
- Trying Times (1:17) – Original LP Version
- The Tom Jones Strut (2:08) – Original LP Version
- Ladies Are Irresistible (1:38) – Original LP Version
- Love Theme From Tom Jones – Variations (1:55) – Original LP Version
- Born For Trouble (4:05) – Original LP Version
- Tom Strikes Again (2:35) – Original LP Version
- Lean days (3:55) – Original LP Version
- I Love You, Sophie Western (2:56) – Original LP Version
- Britannia Rules (0:50) – Original LP Version
- If He Swing by the String (1:15) – Original LP Version
- The Squire Steps In (1:44) – Original LP Version
- End Title (1:43) – Original LP Version
Running Time: 71 minutes 38 seconds
Kritzerland KR20012-7 (1963/2009)
Music composed and conducted by John Addison. Score produced by John Addison. Album produced by Bruce Kimmel.