Alan Bates, Rip

by Richard Brookhiser

I second John on Alan Bates’s performance in Far From the Madding Crowd. It is an excellent movie, one of the very few book adaptations which is both faithful to its original’s spirit, and of comparable impact. (I was sufficiently unimpressed by The Fellowship of the Ring to skip the other two. My very favorite adaptation: The Leopard, with Burt Lancaster as the Prince–incidentally, one of the two most conservative movies of all time.) All the acting in Far From the Madding Crowd was splendid, the settings beautiful, the bits of folk music deeply moving. The only off note was Julie Christie’s eye-liner and white lipstick, which by now seems an endearing bit of early late twentieth century period flavor.