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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Classic Serials..Best Of
I watched this serialisation of Wilkie Collins in 1982, when it was first transmitted. It held me spellbound throughout each episode. My only regret at the time was that I didn't possess a video recorder. It prompted me to read the book, equally spellbinding and, as I discovered, very close to the BBC adaptation, from the evil Count Fosco (Alan Badel), the enchanting...
Published on 15 Aug. 2010 by scribes38

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story, clunky production
Having been enthralled by Wilkie Collins' novel, I felt it my duty to watch the BBC production of the same. It was always going to be a difficult screenplay, as the book is written from the perspectives of numerous different characters. The production shows its age, (early 80's) by its unnatural lighting and substandard sound, lacking the polish of more recent...
Published on 31 Jan. 2012 by Crime_girl


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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Classic Serials..Best Of, 15 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I watched this serialisation of Wilkie Collins in 1982, when it was first transmitted. It held me spellbound throughout each episode. My only regret at the time was that I didn't possess a video recorder. It prompted me to read the book, equally spellbinding and, as I discovered, very close to the BBC adaptation, from the evil Count Fosco (Alan Badel), the enchanting Laura (Jenny Seagrove), Ian Richardson as a very convincing valetudinarian Mr Fairlie, and Georgine Anderson as the icy Madame Fosco..indeed all the characters are brilliantly cast.

This DVD has been top of my "wanted" list for many years. I'm delighted that it is at last available. This rather stingy Scotsman (!) would have happily parted with double or treble the purchase price in order to obtain a copy. Need I say more?
Thank you Amazon.
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87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An execellent dramatisation, 25 July 2010
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S. Wells (California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I remembered that I greatly enjoyed this when it aired on television many years ago and I snapped up a copy of the DVD as soon as I knew it was avaialble. It's every bit as good as I remember.

The acting is uniformly splendid, but what impressed me most was its complete faithfulness to Collin's novel. There's no revisionism or interpolation of 21st century notions here. Rather, you get a ripping good story that presents even the smallest details of the novel, down to the right moment in the correct opera for the observation that leads to the final unraveling of the plot.

If you're an admirer of the novel or a lover of period drama, you're sure to enjoy this!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cinematic equivalent of a bestseller which you cannot put down, 1 Oct. 2011
By 
Ing Loong Yang (Singapore, Singapore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I have been waiting for a long time for a film version of this - one of my favorite - novels and the wait was well worth it. This BBC production is the cinematic equivalent of an "un-put-downable" bestseller. Almost every detail is perfect: from the careful selection of the stellar cast, the dialogue, the atmosphere and the houses that are such an important part of the story. The screenplay is particularly impressive given that the novel was written in the form of court testimony given by different witnesses and therefore difficult to organise. Although I did not know some of the actors who played in this drama (save for the superb Diana Quick who appeared in Brideshead Revisited, Ian Richardson who subsequently played the infamous Francis Urquhart in the House of Cards series and Jenny Seagrove who shone in Judge John Deed), none of them disappointed, right down to the mother of Anne Catherick. Alan Badel as Count Fosco turned in a most rapturous and enjoyable performance. One could easily get through all 5 episodes at one go and left wanting more, such is the charm of this series. Whether you have or have not read the novel, I commend this production to you unreservedly.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Beat, 25 July 2010
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
This is the longest version of the Collins book available. The only version close to it in length is the 1966 BBC version [probably wiped] which I have not seen.

This version has a perfect cast. Badel shines as Fosco and Diana Quick is 'manly' enough for her role as a protective sister to Laura. Like all BBC productions of the time the series was shot on video and is directed at a gentle pace. This production makes good use of outside locations as well as the inevitable studio interiors. All the key moments of the book are included. Many interactions between minor and major characters are presented at a relaxed pace - unlikely today where fast edits are the order of the day.

All in all I couldn't imagine a better adaptation of this timeless classic. Get THE MOONSTONE too [the Robin Ellis version]. It is just as good despite the fact that it was made 10 years earlier.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faithful adaptation, 22 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I love Wilkie Collins and have been very disappointed with other adaptations which changed the story out of all recognition. This DVD is an accurate dramatisation of the book and very enjoyable. However, I do agree with another reviewer who states that the definitive production of 'The Woman in White' has yet to be made.
Still highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very close to the book, 26 July 2011
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I have been looking for this on DVD for so many years. I really enjoyed watching it on TV in the eighties. Obviously we have been spoilt by recent period dramas but this is a good dramatisation and very faithful to the book. Subsequent dramatisations have missed out large amounts of plot and have ruined the story (Tara Fitzgerald version). Definately worth watching. If you are not familiar with the plot, it is slow to start but keep watching cause there are many twists and turns to come!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth waiting for, 3 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
I have waited for the BBC version of The Woman In White for ages. It was well worth waiting for. The characters are every bit as I imagined from reading the book. I first read the book for my O'levels and have re-read it several times since. This production was excellent and will be viewed again
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the woman in white, 20 May 2011
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
This 1981 version is a superb dramatisation of the novel which in its characterisation transcends many of the Victorian stereotypes. Count Fosco is particularly fascinating as a man who simultaneously strikes moral and aesthetic postures, genuinely admires moral courage, and is utterly immoral when his own interests are at stake ('Fosco sticks at nothing'). All of the actors are extremely well cast. Particularly memorable are the valetudinarian and nervous wreck Mr Fairlie, Fosco, and the cameo part of the austere and morally corrupt Mrs Catherick. The dramatisation is wonderfully true to the novel, preserving the most memorable lines and speeches. I particularly enjoy the final episode in which Fosco writes his 'remarkable document', i.e. his lengthy confession, until 'the work is exhausted, but the man, Fosco,is not.'
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story, clunky production, 31 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
Having been enthralled by Wilkie Collins' novel, I felt it my duty to watch the BBC production of the same. It was always going to be a difficult screenplay, as the book is written from the perspectives of numerous different characters. The production shows its age, (early 80's) by its unnatural lighting and substandard sound, lacking the polish of more recent productions of this type. If one had not read the book, you would I think be a little confused about the goings on, as compressing the novel into 269 minutes was always going to mean things were left out. I suppose what is most disappointing is the superficial character development - Marian is such a strong, unusual character in the book, yet that is not fully explored in the movie. I was also hoping for more stirring passion between Walter and Laura - after all, their love is crucial to the story, and a little more suspense. In the book, it was so thrilling to realise that they didn't know that she had heard their plans, but then she subsequently doesn't know that they know that she knows... Wonderful stuff!
The Count does an okay job as the villain, but is not nearly as obese as the book would imply. The soundtrack is frankly appalling (apologies to the dedicated composer).
On the positive side, there is no radical departure from the book, and it kept me interested until the end, although my husband fell asleep. If you are a fan of period drama, I recommend you add it to your viewing schedule, but it is not destined to be a favorite. Read the book!
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faithful but not definitive, 24 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] (DVD)
The Woman in White was a Victorian pot-boiler with a startling plot twist half way through, that has often been cited as the first true detective novel. It has generated a number of stage, movie and TV adaptations.

It was originally published in monthly parts and like other Nineteenth Century doorstop novels it is not the sort of story you just want to rush through to find out what happens in the end. However, its diffuse structure presents a screenwriter with a number of problems. The hero disappears for half the novel and plays no part in the rescue of the heroine. The central plot twist is only recounted retrospectively. There are two villains, one of whom dies a hundred pages before the end of the book while the other is defeated only by the sudden intervention of a character who has not appeared since the opening chapter. The story is continually changing tack. It starts as a romance and a mystery, abruptly turns into a thriller and then morphs into a detective story. It is no wonder that most of the dramatizations have taken considerable liberties with the rambling plot.

The story is compiled from the first hand testimonies of several different people. This production reorganizes the material into strict chronological order but with no attempt to replicate the multiple viewpoints of the book. However, the five part structure does preserve the episodic nature of the book and present the meandering story much more faithfully then any of the other versions still available. Ideally, it would have gone even farther. For example, the half way point in the book is only reached mid way through the penultimate episode, so the second half of the story is a bit of a scramble. It might have been better to have planned it as 12 half-hour episodes.

My only real regret is that it is not as well made as it might have been. I found I was constantly pausing to reflect on how the material might have been better organized to tell the story more effectively and was always conscious of the limitations of shooting on videotape rather than film. While the story is strong enough to survive almost any inadequacies in the production, it has to be admitted that this drama is a bit short on atmosphere and tension.

The performances are variable. Daniel Geroll is a good actor and has subsequently had a very successful career in America, both on stage and screen, but his Walter Hartright seemed a bit drippy to me. Jenny Seagrove and (especially) Diana Quick are both fine in their relatively undemanding roles, but Alan Badel is only passable in the crucial role of Count Fosco. Of course, he is not physically right for the part, but that is not important, because Fosco's corpulence is not essential to the character. A more serious reservation is that Badel does not fully capture either the intelligence or the poisonous politeness of the man and lacks both charisma and a sense of menace (I would love to see what Sidney Greenstreet did with the part). Other actors are competent rather than striking and only Ian Richardson really stands out. His Frederick Fairlie was so memorable that it is no surprise that he was invited to play the part again in the 1997 version.

If you want a coherent, exciting two-hour drama then David Pirie's very free adaptation in the 1997 production is probably the best available, but it is only distantly related to the book. For a faithful, `warts and all', dramatization of the story, very much as Wilkie Collins wrote it, you cannot do better than this version. Like the novel itself, I found it thoroughly engrossing and I would not want my reservations to discourage anybody from giving it a view.

However, the definitive Woman in White is still waiting to be made.
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The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997]
The Woman in White [DVD][1982] [1997] by John Bruce (DVD - 2010)
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