Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her ...Written by
The film was first released to German cinemas uncut with a running time of 184 minutes. As the audience reaction was far from overwhelming the distributor decided to re-cut and re-release the film in a more "accessible" 134 minutes version. But at least one of the original prints had survived and was shown here at the local art house years later. See more »
Good not great version of a difficult to adapt novel
Beautiful to look at, not just the scenery but the art direction as well but overlong and somewhat ponderous. Nastassja Kinski handles the complex lead role with surety and exudes a great deal of charisma and star quality, it's surprising that her career fizzled out so completely but as she matured those qualities in evidence here diminished. Director Polanski's silent tribute to his late wife Sharon Tate at the end of the opening credits with a simple "To Sharon" after his credit is quite moving. She had left the Hardy novel with a note that she thought he would make a fine film of it when she headed back to the states just before her death.
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