December 12, 1977 12:00 PM

Tony Richardson, who directed Tom Jones, obviously hopes to filch from Fielding another bawdy 18th-century success. But despite plenty of ruddy cheeks and English countryside, Joseph Andrews doesn’t always work. Ann-Margret is lovely as a voluptuary trying to seduce her sensitive footman, Peter (Equus) Firth. In fact, every woman the young lad meets tries to bed him, with the obligatory rude slapstick ensuing. An eating scene cribbed from Tom Jones doesn’t seem nearly so provocative the second time. (R)

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