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Jude the Obscure BBC [1971 BBC Production] [DVD]
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Robert Powell stars as Jude Fawley in this uncompromising BBC adaptation of one of Thomas Hardy's most bitter and controversial novels. Born into rural poverty, young Jude Fawley refuses to accept his lot in life. But Victorian England is a society in which everyone has their place. As his dreams are shattered, Jude lashes out at the world and his life spirals out of control…
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Top Customer Reviews
The production is theatrical but exemplifies everything that makes me prefer the BBC serials of the 70s and 80s. The person who adapted the book for the screen clearly read and understood the book and thought carefully about what the author wanted the reader to think about. This is not just a sad love story, it is to my mind mostly an argument about the dreadful power of conventional Victorian society. I felt I had a lot to ponder after watching the final episode and thoughts of the production still pop in my mind a week later.
The casting and the acting are generally superb. There are four main characters and each one was totally believable and right in the part. Robert Powell (Jude) is wholly believable as a gentle and intellectual artisan trapped in a world he was not made for. He is also very attractive so you know why Arabella is wife pursued him. Fiona Walker (Sue Bridewell), while not dolly bird pretty, has the charisma to make you understand why Jude and the school master Richard are in love with her. Fiona Walker has to cover a broad range of experience. She had me crying at the end as she struggles to come to terms with the destruction of her family. The person who played Richard, the school master is really unappealing while being what is called a decent man.Read more ›
Robert Powell gives a very good performance as Jude and the rest of the cast - including Fiona Walker as Sue - are also good. However, this is one of the least entertaining dramas I have seen. I am not the sort of person who cannot bare sad stories, for example, I am a huge fan of the BBC's magnificent adaptation of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' - another Hardy tragedy. However, 'Jude the Obscure' is not only tragic, it is very depressing.
I would only really advise avid Hardy fans to watch this drama. Anyone looking for an entertaining drama should look elsewhere.
The acting is of a uniformly high quality (Fiona Walker in particular) if on occasion unintentionally comical (the minor character of Mrs Hawes seems to be a forerunner of Julie Walters' Mrs Overall).
As was the norm at the time, it is a TV studio based production recorded on analogue tape and the video quality is therefore not as good as a film transfer might be but is nevertheless very acceptable and does not detract from the enjoyment of the work.
Apart from the quality of the picture, the whole thing looks highly staged. Rather like looking at a Theatrical Play. The lighting is very false looking in many scenes. The acting seems too 'large' (as in play acting) I didn't like the overly posh version of Sue in the slightest. It is very difficult to empathise with her character in this portrayal. Jude does far too much over the top shouting. (Watching this makes me wonder how Powell became such a 'great' actor)
This is one of my favourite books and I'm afraid I become increasing bored with this film. It is a long drawn out stage play. The awful scene concerning the children is just not 'real' enough to convey the horror that jumps out of the book and grips you by the throat.
I also didn't particularly like the other version available so I am hoping that one day, someone will make a decent film of this epic. Both in my opinion are poor representations of the book. The other version is more gripping than this one which is in 5 drawn out episodes and may as well have been Peyton Place as far as I'm concerned.
The price for this is poor value for money. Poor quality picture, over the top (slightly hammy) acting lacking in drama and real interest for a top price. Avoid it!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of Hardy's more depressing tales - a long film but if you like Hardy you'll enjoy it. Good for a rainy Sunday afternoon :)Published 5 months ago by M. K. Delarue
I was afraid to buy this as I enjoyed the first showing in the 70s... It has stood the test of time very well and was enjoyed again.Published 18 months ago by Mrs. B. Daly
As a staunch Thomas Hardy fan, I found this version of Jude quite boring, the book was far more interesting.Published 22 months ago by Mrs. P. Robinson