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Wives and Daughters (Repackaged) [DVD]

Francesca Annis , Ian Carmichael , Nicholas Renton    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
Price: £3.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Wives and Daughters (Repackaged) [DVD] + Middlemarch (Repackaged) [DVD] [1994] + North & South [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Francesca Annis, Ian Carmichael, Deborah Findlay, Barbara Flynn, Michael Gambon
  • Directors: Nicholas Renton
  • Writers: Andrew Davis
  • Producers: Sue Birtwistle
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jan 2012
  • Run Time: 301 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006NZ65LY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,499 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's unfinished novel. The decision of long-time widower Mr Gibson (Bill Paterson) to remarry has several repercussions for his daughter, Molly (Justine Waddell), who resents the arrival of her stepmother (Francesca Annis). However, Molly also acquires a stepsister, Cynthia (Keeley Hawes), with whom she soon forms a close bond. Their relationship is later put to the test, however, when they both set their sights on the same man.


Andrew Davies' 1999 adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's Wives and Daughters was hailed as the rediscovery of a "forgotten" classic novel and found the BBC on the crest of a wave with costume dramas--led by Pride and Prejudice. Handsome and beautifully filmed, if anything, it surpassed the quality of even that highly praised landmark production.

"We should all look pretty strange under a microscope," botanist Robert Hamley tells our heroine Molly Gibson and of course Mrs Gaskell places all her characters under intense scrutiny, with affection but without judgement. Davies' screenplay peals back the layers, giving full vent to the comedy, tragedy and satire that drive this tale of provincial life to its highly satisfactory conclusion. Justine Waddell imbues Molly with an increasingly exasperated but remarkably forbearing intelligence, while Francesca Annis, as the outrageously self-absorbed step-mother Hyacinth, paints a wonderful portrait of affectation without ever totally alienating our sympathy. Michael Gambon's immensely touching Squire Hamley won him a Best Actor BAFTA, but all the performances are uniformly excellent, contributing immeasurably to five hours of television drama of the highest calibre.

On the DVD: Presented in 16:9 format with a Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack, this two-disc presentation retains all the hallmarks of the original BBC viewing experience. The picture quality is lush--the production lighting is excellent--and the sound quality sharp. The only gripe is with the extras: the Omnibus documentary "Who the Dickens is Mrs Gaskell?" is brutally truncated, cutting off talking heads like novelists Fay Weldon and Margaret Drabble in their prime and giving limited insight into how the production was made. As an audio bonus, there is also 30 minutes of John Keane's music.--Piers Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
By Elvira
After watching it may times over, this has become one of my favorite screen adaptations of classical novels. I never thought any movie could come close to Pride and Prejudice in that sense, but this one truly does. Elizabeth Gaskell (novelist) has no black and white characters, just like in George Eliot novels one learns to understand the misfortunes and good sides of the less sympathetic people(like the step mother and step daughter at the start) and one feels with all characters, which in my opinion gives more depth to a story. In this one the deep affection between the Heroine and her father is very beautifully described, as well as the growing love between the Heroine and her neighbor the Squires son. Equally much we get involved in the aging Squires worries and hopes for his two sons to make it in this world, beautifully acted by Michael Gambon. His performance is stunning and brings you to tears. No wonder he won a BAFTA for this one!

This movie is one of the best to describe both awakening love, peoples honest intentions and care for loved ones in the 19th century rural England. One just loves the whole story and the people in it very much!

Very highly recommended to everyone fond of the complex human nature, passion, relationships, good dialog and good acting. I wish there would be more adaptations like this, were all pieces fall into place equally well: very well directed, high quality production with acclaimed cast, costumes, scenery and footage. Don't miss it.
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165 of 166 people found the following review helpful
It's almost impossible not to compare this with the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (which I also love). This is slightly harder work, I think -- it's not so immediately compelling, less of a confection and more of a meal. The nature of the storytelling is different, even if the scripts were in the same capable hands (Andrew Davies's) and the production values similar (though I suspect they had less money to throw at this).
Wives and Daughters is altogether darker, deeper, and more human than the frothy P&P. Here, we have racial and religious prejudice and its consequences, more than one death, and a far more cruel and direct portrayal of ruinous gossip than ever threatened the Bennet girls. Also, one of the most powerfully romantic moments I've ever seen dramatised: the offering of flowers to heroine Molly in the final episode, and the superb, heart-wrenching give-and-take dialogue that goes with it.
It's hard to fault the casting or acting. Justine Waddell is perfect and perfectly (if unconventionally) beautiful in the central role of Molly. The "mother" character has been compared to Austen's Mrs Bennet, but Francesca Annis as Molly's stepmother Hyacinth brought far more depth to her role. If you were irritated by Alison Steadman's shrieking Mrs Bennet, you might just end up actually wanting to strangle the colder, more devious Hyacinth :-)
To sum up, I can enjoy Pride and Prejudice over and over again without feeling sated, but it doesn't move me to tears the way this does.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, heart-warming adaptation 7 Sep 2005
By Lili_K
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the second Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation I watched. Although it is not as stunning and breathtakingly dramatic as North & South - of course the topics handled are very different -, it is a masterpiece of its own right with wonderful cast& crew.
Jusitne Waddel (Molly) and Bill Patterson (dr Gibson)play daughter and father very convincingly: you can feel their down-to-earth, but strong and heart-warming affection for each other. Nothing superficial or pretentious. Francesca Annis (Clare Gibson) and Keely Hawes (her daughter, Cynthia) are perfectly suited as mother and daughter: you can grasp the physical and characteristic similarities. One of the most annoying and at the same time most delightful scenes is when Mr Gibson gives a piece of her mind to Cynthia for putting Molly's good reputation at stake and both Cynthia and Mrs Gibson are crying, feeling they've been sadly abused & misunderstood while Molly - the only person having ground to feel injured - is standing there patiently, not saying a word. Their carelessness and selfishness is featured wonderfully in that scene.
Justine Waddel was a fresh and lively Molly. Keely Hawes was a wondeful Cynthia: you couldn't help liking and disliking her at the same time. Iain Glen's acting was also very good: he was good-looking, but repulsive at the same time. Francesca Annis and Michael Gambon were both superb.
Supporting actors were very well chosen: I especially liked the beautiful Rosamund Pike as aristocratic, independent Lady Harriet.
BBC has done its best again.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This has to be one of my favourite BBC adaptations, rating alongside Pride and Prejudice. Andrew Davies again has done an excellent job, he can be forgiven a bit for his Northanger Abbey, which considering the length of the piece is understandable. I know other reviewers think this isn't quite as good, but I think Wives and Daughters is a bit of a slow burner. It isn't instantly as enticing as Pride but you will grow to love it just as much. I won't bore you with plot details as it has been done before, just buy this, if, like me you love costume drama. The performances are all excellent and unlike other reviewers I loved Justine as Molly. She isn't exactly like the Molly in the book but then that wouldn't be very appealing on scene. The excellent actress (can't remember her name)who played the main character in the recent Bleak House adaptation was also nothing like the Esther in the novel. She has made the character more engaging for me. She has done other costume drama (Great Expectations)before this and I loved her in those as well. I think it is a real shame that she hasn't had the success that the other young cast members(who are brilliant too) like Keeley Hawes, Rosamund Pike, Antony Howell and Tom Hollander have had since this production. I loved the ending of the programme as well, again a modern twist. I'm looking forward to Cranford which along with many of the cast from Wives and Daughter also has the excellent Judi Dench in it. I'm so pleased that the BBC has made Elizabeth Gaskell more well known with these series, there is also North and South which has the very yummy Richard Armitage in it. Now all we need is some good Wilkie Collins productions and I'd be very happy.
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