A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
In the Victorian period, a rural clergyman tells John Durbeyfield, a simple farmer, that he is descended from the illustrious d'Urberville family -- now extinct. Or maybe not. Durbeyfield sends his daughter Tess to check on a family named d'Uberville living in a manor house less than a day's carriage ride away. Alec d'Urberville is delighted to meet his beautiful "cousin" and seduces her with strawberries and roses. Actually, Alec has gotten his illustrious name and coat of arms by purchasing them. Tess also takes up the game of illusion when she finds, loses and finds again her true love Angel Claire. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director of Photography Geoffrey Unsworth died of a heart attack during the third week of shooting at the end of October 1978. Most of the film's scenes shot by him were exteriors in the first half of the movie and can be noticed by some fog and slight diffusion. Ghislain Cloquet shot the second half and the remaining of the movie with most of his scenes in interiors with no diffusion. Rumor has that among the scenes shot by Unsworth before his death were:
1) The foggy day-to-night seduction in the woods
2) The tent and the strawberries when Tess is in the D'Uberville mansion.
This film was an almost exact replication of Thomas Hardy's novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". It's so rare to watch a film after reading the novel and not be disappointed by it, but this film didn't disappoint in any way.
Details, such as the whiteness of the maids' dresses, the sound of milk squirting into a bucket, the sloshing mud of a wet English turnip field, and the glint of adoration in the eyes of the young lovers -- all came gloriously to life as if fresh off the pages of the book.
I highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned Victorian love story.
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