November 16, 1915
| 7/10 |
| Thomas Hardy (novel), Laurence Trimble|
Silent film, Drama, Romance Film
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Far from the Madding Crowd (1915 film) Wikipedia
Far from the Madding Crowd is a 1915 British silent drama film produced and directed by Laurence Trimble and starring Florence Turner, Henry Edwards and Malcolm Cherry. Trimble also adapted Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel for the screen. Far from the Madding Crowd is a lost film.
Florence Turner as Bathsheba Everdene
Henry Edwards as Gabriel Oak
Malcolm Cherry as Farmer Boldwood
Campbell Gullan as Sergeant Troy
Marion Grey as Fanny Robin
Dorothy Rowan as Lyddie
John MacAndrews as Farmhand
Johnny Butt as Farmhand
Jean as Gabriel's dog
The rights to adapt Far from the Madding Crowd for the screen were secured in 1915 by Turner Films, an independent film production company established in England by American film star Florence Turner. Filmmaker Laurence Trimble, who had often directed Turner while they were at Vitagraph Studios, was head of production for Turner Films, which had its studios at Walton-on-Thames.
Little is known about the production, apart from its being shot in authentic locales in Dorset. After the film's premiere on 16 November 1915, at a private screening at London's West End Cinema, the press response was favorable. The Times wrote that Hardy "can have little reason to complain of the way in which his work has been handled. … One feels that the country in which the action is laid is really the Wessex of the novel and that the farm, the cattle, the sheep are the genuine ones over which Gabriel Oak watched with such care." In February 1916, the five-reel feature film was given a general release in Britain.
On 19 June 1916 the film was released in the United States, the first of six Turner productions to be distributed in the U.S. by Mutual Film. The production was panned in a Variety review, which criticized the narrative as hard to follow and deemed the 30-year-old Turner as "no longer qualified physically to portray the roles of the simple ingenue type". The reviewer concluded, "Far from the Madding Crowd is one of those stories of the type that appeared a decade to two ago in The Fireside Companion, intended primarily for consumption in the scullery and pantry by the maids and the cook and the picture carries the same atmosphere."
Hardy does not appear to have seen the film, although he wrote program notes for its premiere. The film's success in Britain prompted him to write his publisher that he was "glad to hear that Far from the Madding Crowd comes out so well." By 1920 Hardy had changed his opinion, saying that it "seems to have been a failure". No boxoffice records are available to determine the film's financial success. Turner Films ceased production after Trimble and Turner returned to the U.S. later in 1916.
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