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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [DVD] [1996]


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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [DVD] [1996] + The Mill on the Floss (Repackaged) [DVD] [1997]
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Product details

  • Actors: Toby Stephens, Pam Ferris, Paloma Baeza, Joe Absolom, Kenneth Cranham
  • Directors: Mike Barker
  • Writers: Anne Brontë, David Nokes, Janet Barron
  • Producers: Joanna Newbery, Kevin Loader, Rebecca Eaton, Suzan Harrison
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Mar. 2006
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CIWXG4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,737 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

BBC mini-series adapted from Anne Brontë's neglected tale which follows Helen Graham (Tara Fitzgerald), a widow with a hidden past who takes up residence at Wildfell Hall. When young farmer Gilbert Markham (Toby Stephens) encounters Helen he is immediately drawn to her but in their tight-knit community rumours about Helen begin to spread. In time, the truth about her past comes to light but a dark secret threatens their hope of a future together.

Synopsis

Powerful, haunting and disturbing, Anne Bronte's classic story is as unforgettable as those of her more famous sisters. In a remote village on the Yorkshire moors, a beautiful widow and her son move into the near-derelict Wildfell Hall. Befriended by a handsome young farmer, she remains mysteriously silent about her past and why she is afraid - until she becomes the focus of malicious village gossip.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Nov. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
While not wholly faithful to Anne Bronte's novel of the same name, this BBC adaptation has much to commend it. Excellent cinematography, as well as strong performances by the entire cast, makes this a must see production for all lovers of period pieces.
An intriguing widow of mystery, Helen Graham (Tara Fitzgerald), moves into a crumbling residence known as Wildfell Hall. There, she sets up house with her very young son. Plain spoken, independent, and seeming to lack charm, she rebuffs the initial, friendly overtures of the local townsfolk and manages to alienate most of them. Gilbert Markham (Toby Stephens), a young and handsome yeoman farmer, is not put off by her manner, however, and being smitten by her sets off in hot pursuit, hoping to gain her affections. Soon, however, the townsfolk begin gossiping about her supposed assignations with a wealthy, local gentleman, Mr. Lawrence (James Purefoy), the owner of Wildfell Hall. There comes a point where even the steadfast Mr. Markham wavers in his belief in her. It is then that Mrs. Graham tells him the true nature of her relationship with Mr. Lawrence and reveals her dark past.
Rupert Graves steals the show as Arthur Huntingdon, the charming rake who captures and seduces Helen's young, romantic heart. Once married to her, however, he reveals himself to be a brutish, dissolute, and depraved philanderer, who causes her to flee their home with their young son. The role of Huntingdon is, undoubtedly, the juiciest. The film uses the narrative contrivance of flashbacks in order to explain the events that led Helen to take the extraordinary measures that she did. It tells the viewer of the sad story that brought Helen and her son to this sorry pass.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Haande Laurence on 3 Oct. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Having fallen under the charm of Toby Stephens during a visit to Stratford where his performance as Coriolanus was breathtaking (I cried for that poor Roman soldier and the injustice of it all!) I was very curious to see this movie when I saw he was in the cast. And I have not been disappointed. The music, the lights, the unbelievable settings, the costumes and the acting were perfect. Huntington was very believable and despicable. As for Toby Stephens, he made a very intense and sexy gentleman farmer. I was NOT disappointed. The only thing I felt a bit sorry about was that somehow I did not really like Tara Fitzgerald (although I liked her deep voice very much and thought it gave strength to her character) and had trouble feeling sorry for her... It is a brilliant adaptation of the work of Anne Bronte and a very entertaining romantic movie. I had prepared myself a nice pot of tea to drink watching it but the whole thing was so gripping, I completely forgot about it! That is a good sign isn't it?:o)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jun. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
An excellent cast ensures that this adaption of this Bronte novel captures the right tone to tell a rather dark story. It is NOT Austen & you will be disappointed if you have seen Pride & Prejudice & expect more of the same! This story of a woman hiding from her past is tautly told, especially the first third when the audience is kept at bay with only a few mysterious flashbacks to hint at why Helen is so withdrawn and hostile. Once the floodgates are opened though a lush and evocatively shot story is told of love, hope, patience, pity and eventual forgiveness. I loved this mini-series. Rupert Graves particularly impressed me as Helen's husband with his erratic mood swings, and disturbing charm, as did the score - if only it was available on disc!
A beautifully told story particularly suited for dark Winter days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

For those who like costume dramas, the BBC does them best and, for those who enjoyed the Jane Austen's, e.g. "Pride and Prejudice" with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, and want more of the same, this may disappoint although the costumes, settings, drama and cinematography are equally good, While Austen lived in rural Hampshire and wrote of the well-to-do, refined (generally) Winchester/Bath set, Anne Bronte lived in isolated Yorkshire and wrote of a different set with a darker edge but whose lives were no less enthralling.

Though not entirely true to Anne Bronte's 1848 novel'S original vision, this mini-series and DVD are an excellent adaptation by director Mike Barker, his team of screen writers, David Nokes and Janet Barron, and actors Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves, Sarah Badel and Jackson Leach.

Tara Fitzgerald as Helen is excellent, portraying the aloof, enigmatic stranger who moves into this grand hall with her younger man. Writing more would reveal too much.

Jane Austen it is not but Bronte's world is equally compelling.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Helen on 6 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
----spoilers---

The acting was excellent and the sets and everything except the script at the end. Did they run out of money as they reached the end? The final couple of scenes were so different to the rest of this play - so rushed and shortened it was ridiculous and I got annoyed as hero and heroine had hardly any chance to establish their happiness at long last after all that misery and separation, and give us a decent embrace before the credits came rushing up. I simply couldn't believe how badly this finale was botched. So what was up till then an excellent production suddenly became bathotic. Full marks to handsome hero Toby Stephens and plucky heroine Tara Fitzgerald trying their level best to put over what they could in a few seconds of coming together at the end but frankly, the scriptwriter or the director or the editor, whoever was responsible for this dreadfully bad last scene, should have been forced to do it again and get it right.

What an infuriatingly clever tale this is - with poor heroine feeling forced due to the customs of the time to stick by her utterly vile, demented and violent husband. A real lesson to us women to be grateful we didn't live then under those awful, restrictive rules. There are limits to what any woman should have to take from a bad husband but then it was indeed for better for worse and worse worse worse for this heroine.

Worth having for a great story and fine acting from everyone including of course Rupert Graves as the wicked husband we all love to hate.
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