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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb productions
The six Thomas Hardy stories are superbly rendered for television. The location shooting is sensitive and often exquisitely beautiful. Having been shot on film, the scenes live again on DVD. The dramatisations are all by different hands but each attains a very high standard in all respects. The casts also include many fine actors, some in the first blush of their careers...
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by WSH

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not our cup of tea
Not really interesting, disappointing
Published 9 days ago by MCull


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb productions, 5 Oct 2010
By 
WSH (NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
The six Thomas Hardy stories are superbly rendered for television. The location shooting is sensitive and often exquisitely beautiful. Having been shot on film, the scenes live again on DVD. The dramatisations are all by different hands but each attains a very high standard in all respects. The casts also include many fine actors, some in the first blush of their careers. My personal favourites are "The Imaginative Woman", featuring a wonderful performance by Claire Bloom, and "The Melancholy Hussar", in which Mary Larkin is astonishingly good. Hardy deals in life's mischances a great deal, and anyone coming to these stories will need to have some sympathy for his style, but there is a sufficiently rich pattern of life evoked in each of these stories to withstand even Hardy's ironic temper. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wessex Tales still has the magic after 40yrs.Thomas Hardy would have approved,how could he not?, 27 Sep 2013
By 
Mrs. D. Surrey "Castell" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
It is 40 years since this timeless adaptation of the magical Wessex Tales was Televised.I watched this with my late mother and we loved each one,and looked forward to the next episode.

I have watched this so many times I think I know it off by heart,but the 1st tale of the "Imaginative woman" is my favourite.This cast was absolutely icing on the cake,with Claire Bloom as a young married woman taking the lead role.Her husband was the late Norman Rodway (the man with the golden voice)and the other main character was the lovely Maureen Pryor who graced our screens so many times in the old days. This must have been one of Maureen's last plays as she sadly died in 1977 from a heart condition she was only 51yrs old.

Then we have the "Tragedy of 2 ambitions" with John Hurt as a young man studying in Theologian College(that unmistakable rich,deep stentorious voice)with his brother Cornelius,originally a school teacher but later changed to Clergy,admirably played by David Troughton. Their father (Paul Rogers) was an absolute disgrace to them both,being a drunkard & loveable swindler,but it was he who provided the sting in the tail of the 2 Clergymen.The sister was the lovely Lynne Frederick. The cast was a wonderful eclectic mix of characters.This tale is so enjoyable,you will want to watch it many times.

Then we have Billie Whitelaw cast as the "knowing one" in the Withered Arm,with Yvonne Antrobus as Gertrude the Farmers wife.The farmer was a young Edward Hardwicke.This tale centres on the witchcraft and spell binding that went on in Hardy's Egdon Heath.A great tale,one of Hardy's best.

My only advice to anyone reading this is to buy the DVD while you can,you will never regret it as it is a wonderful relic that shows how great the original story teller was,the man who can still cast his magic into the 21st century.Thomas Hardy at his best.

Sadly there were far more Wessex Tales than those shown on this DVD, but are now lost in the BBC archives. None of Hardy's other stories were televised ,which was a great pity.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely interesting ..., 28 July 2010
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
As a typically devoted Thomas Hardy fan I couldn't resist buying this out of curiosity. These tales are actually a curio collection turned into film. The Melancholy Hussar and Barbara of the House of Grebe are particularly enjoyable as is The Withered Arm.

The quality of the cast are faultless. Billie Whitelaw is incredibly compellling - and Nick Brimble is, well, possibly the most handsome actor ever. Far more raw sex appeal than any Colin Firth!

A must have, in short, for any Hardy devotee.

(Other Hardy DVDs that I've enjoyed have been the recent BBC 'Tess' and the 70's 'Mayor of Casterbridge' (starring Alan Bates).
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tales Made Into Film When the Goal Wasn't to Rewrite Them, 26 July 2010
By 
Little Dorrit "ldorrit" (WA state) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Anyone else that is sick of classic literature being rewritten to fit some clown's modern agenda and made into film - the most recent Jane Austen films being perfect examples - will enjoy this collection of pieces that faithfully transported Hardy's prose into film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well acted, 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
These six stories felt very real and you feel a lot of sympathy for the characters as they struggle to find happiness. Most of the stories are very sad in a way that anyone familar with the works of Thomas Hardy will recognise - and appreciate! The acting is brilliant. Thanks to the subtitles even those of us who are a little hard of hearing can enjoy Wessex Tales.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Costume Drama, 16 April 2010
By 
J. D. White "Jdawg" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Featuring a multitude of actors (NB Ben Kinglsey and John Hurt!), writers and directors, they sure don't make them like this anymore!
Great value for money with 6 tales adapted for the screen from the work of Thomas Hardy. Great stuff for some rainy weekend escapism
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wessex Tales, 29 Jun 2010
By 
Heather Hall "Coaster Chick" (Egham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
I am a fan of all things Thomas Hardy and watched this series in the 70s so it is great seeing it again. The production and filming style looks very dated now but the quality of the DVD is fine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wessex Tales, 11 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
These stories by Thomas Hardy are excellent. I love anything to do with TH and have all his books. I particularly love the tales because they are just the right duration (about 1 hour) which makes perfect viewing for a break with a cup of tea and biscuit!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hardy at his ironic best, 6 Aug 2012
By 
F. J. Dukes "Broadmayne" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
I have to admit that I did not see these short stories in these excellent Television adaptations when they were first broadcast in the 1970s. They are very good with good screenwriters, directors and actors. It is a pity that the image quality has faded and is now a bit "washed out". The music by Joseph Horowitz fits the Hardy rural environment very well.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a surprise!, 12 July 2010
By 
Helen Kelley (Pleasantville, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Packaged just arrived, so I sat back to take in a collection of Thomas Hardy short stories put on film. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a unique experience for me, for I have not watched programming of this nature. Costumes so reflective of the time period. Story lines were intriguing. We look for the perfect ending in movies, where the bad guy gets his due, and the good guy gets the girl. I found the endings of these stories more reflective of the "not prepared for" surprises of life. Enjoyed watching a young Edward Hardwicke--of the Sherlock Holmes/Granada fame, along with other familiar faces we have grown to appreciate.
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Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973]
Wessex Tales [DVD] [1973] by David Jones (DVD - 2010)
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