The spectacular scenery of Wessex and the Dorset coast provides the backdrop for this adaptation of a Thomas Hardy short story. Set in nineteenth century rural England, this is the story of... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matthaus Singer
Emma Fielding ...
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Captain Fairfax
...
...
Lynda Bellingham ...
Emily Marlowe
Thomas Lockyer ...
Christoph Singer
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Gareth Hale ...
William Parsons
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Amy Parsons
Roger May ...
Fridon
...
Dotty Marlowe
...
Strasser
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Lizzie, Landlady
Tom McCabe ...
Officer Hubbard
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Storyline

The spectacular scenery of Wessex and the Dorset coast provides the backdrop for this adaptation of a Thomas Hardy short story. Set in nineteenth century rural England, this is the story of forbidden romance between a German hussar serving with King George III's personal cavalry, Matthaus Singer, and the only daughter of a West country solicitor, Frances Groves. The German legion is encamped on the downs as the threat of war with Napoleon looms. Matthaus longs for his homeland and Frances is trapped in an interminable engagement to one of her father's business associates, Humphrey Gould. Illicit meetings between Frances and Matthaus flare into a passionate affair as each searches for escape and happiness. Were they to be discovered, she would be branded a soldier's whore and he a disgrace to his regiment... Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

german | soldier | hussar | dorset | hiding | See All (94) »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

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Details

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Release Date:

12 June 1998 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A vörös lepel  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Award-winning children's author and comedy writer Adam Perrott was an extra in this movie. See more »

Quotes

Captain Fairfax: [to Matthaus Singer] It'd be a bitter disappointment to me to have you lose the stripes from your tunic only to gain those stripes on your skin.
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Connections

Remake of Wessex Tales: The Melancholy Hussar (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"It'd be a bitter disappointment to me to have you lose the stripes from your tunic only to gain those stripes on your skin"
12 November 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A beautiful film that deserves to be seen more often, and it does deserve a higher rating than the 5.3 it has as of now(lack of votes perhaps?). There are a couple of moments of rushed editing and Simon Callow is in over-acting scenery-chewing mode that can feel at odds with the tone of the rest of the film. The Wessex/Dorset scenery is simply exquisite though and matches Hardy's vivid writing almost exactly, and the photography is not just lovely to look at but allows us to take in the scenery and atmosphere without feeling stolid TV movie quality. The period detail is evocatively rendered- not too clean and not too bleak either- with good make-up and no obviously anachronistic-looking hair-styles, and the lighting is careful not to be too bright or too murky. The simple tranquillity of the music score also appeals, and when the drama should resonate it does wisely take a back-seat, as do the very literate and thoughtfully adapted script that is in keeping with Hardy's prose and the simple but very charming and touchingly melancholic story. The characters don't feel like caricatures and you do genuinely believe in the two protagonists' love for one another. Jean-Marc Barr is a charming and handsome Matthaus, and Emma Fielding is English-Rose-personified. In fact the acting is very well done, though with some reservations on Callow's part. Much of the direction is slick and sympathetic too. So all in all, a very good and beautiful film that doesn't disgrace Hardy or the story in the slightest. It's not 100% perfect, but it is much better than the rating makes it out to be. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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