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4.1 out of 5 stars37
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 5 October 2010
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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on 28 July 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2010
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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on 27 September 2013
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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on 6 August 2012
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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on 19 November 2013
A little late making my review, but here goes, excellent and prompt delivery, and have read the story's previously thoroughly enjoyed the BBC's gem adaptation's of Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales. Hardy to me is one of the finest writers in English history and this DVD came up to a standard that even TH would be proud of himself. Four of the story's are brilliant, the other 2 are very good. Definetely would recommend, and will keep nestled in my DVD rack permanently.
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on 16 April 2010
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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on 12 July 2010
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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on 29 June 2010
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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on 10 March 2013
If you are a fan of Period/Costume dramas then you will enjoy this DVD.
Thomas Hardy is a favourite storyteller of mine. (Prossibly because both
of us are Dorset born and bred).
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