At a country fair, young hay-trusser Michael Henchard quarrels with his wife Susan, and in a drunken fit decides to auction off his wife and baby to a sailor for five guineas. The next day,...
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Based on a little known 1848 novel by Anne Bronte, Tara Fitzgerald stars as an enigmatic young woman who moves to 19th Century Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone ... See full summary »
An adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic story of parvenue Becky Sharp's rise from obscure & humble origins to her subsequent ignominious fall from Society; set amongst the ... See full summary »
Set in 1870s England, the story tells of Annabella Lagrange and the terrible secret her wealthy parents have kept from her. When she finally learns the truth, she runs away and eventually ... See full summary »
At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city',... See full summary »
In a drunken and disheartened state, Michael Henchard sells his wife at a fair. When he becomes sober again he realises what he has done, and though unable to find his wife and child, ... See full summary »
This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »
Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.
Catherine Sloper has found the man of her dreams in Morris Townsend, but her plans to marry him are strongly opposed by her father, who believes Townsend is only interested in his daughter ... See full summary »
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
At a country fair, young hay-trusser Michael Henchard quarrels with his wife Susan, and in a drunken fit decides to auction off his wife and baby to a sailor for five guineas. The next day, realizing his loss, he swears not to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far. Eighteen years later, Henchard has become Mayor of Casterbridge, a man well respected but not well liked. The unexpected return of his wife and daughter Elizabeth Jane sets off a turn of events that force him to face the consequences of his selfish impulses and violent temper. Written by
I haven't been familiar with Thomas Hardy's work for long, in fact my first exposure was Jude the Obscure for GCSEs only four years ago. Since then he has struck me as a truly wonderful author, I find his characters complex and his writing highly thoughtful and atmospheric. The Mayor of Casterbridge does show Hardy fully deserving of this reputation, the story is bleak but beautiful and fascinating also. And this is a fantastic version of it, not quite as good as the 1978 series but just as great. The costumes and settings are evocative and stunning to look at and the photography is very skillful. What also stuck out was the atmosphere, perfectly capturing the story's bleakness but also managing to be genuinely authentic. The music is both beautiful and haunting and never overbearing, the story held my attention for the whole duration and was very moving and the writing is literate and thoughtful, sticking faithfully to the basic spirit of the prose. Ciaran Hinds, whether you dislike or feel pity for Henchard, which is numerous times on both counts, is nevertheless the complete embodiment of this complex role, much like Alan Bates before him. Of the solid support cast, Juliet Aubrey's sympathetic Susan and James Purefoy's startling Farfrae stood out in particular. Jodhi May also convinces in Elizabeth-Jane's despair. Overall, this is a fantastic adaptation and version of a fine book. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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