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Far from the Madding Crowd / Wuthering Heights / Tess of the D'urbervilles [DVD]
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A triple bill of television adaptations of Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy novels. In 'Wuthering Heights', inseparable as children, Cathy (Sarah Smart) and Heathcliff (Robert Cavanah)'s devotion to each other grows into a profound dangerous passion as they become adults. The fates seem to conspire to force them apart, but nothing can break the bond between them that reaches beyond accepted human behaviour. In 'Far From the Madding Crowd', the arrival of Bathsheba Everdene (Paloma Baeza) as mistress of Weatherbury Farm causes quite a stir in the all-male environment of the Corn Exchange. A beautiful and proud young woman with a fiercely independent spirit, she soon ensnares and almost destroys the lives of the three men who love her - local shepherd Gabriel Oak (Nathaniel Parker), gentleman farmer Mr Boldwood (Nigel Terry) and the womanising Sergeant Frank Troy (Jonathan Firth). Whilst in 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', Tess (Justine Waddell) is a poor maid who is sent to work for distant relatives following the death of her parents. She is pursued and eventually becomes pregnant by Alex D'Urberville (Jason Flemyng). Tess flees, and finds work as a milkmaid. She falls in love with the handsome Angel Clare (Oliver Milburn), who proposes marriage, but tragedy strikes when Tess decides to confess her past to him the night before their wedding.
Nicholas Renton's Far From The Madding Crowd  is an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name. It is a rollicking tale of love, betrayal and the triumph of goodness, blended together to create an extremely entertaining film.
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Top Customer Reviews
As with the best of British television costume dramas, this 1998 version features some very well-known and -loved actors, although I believe that Paloma Baeza may not have been so well-known when she was cast as the female lead. Nathaniel Parker is simply stunning -- and irresistible -- as the superb Gabriel Oak (a more appropriate name for his character could not have been devised), and Jonathan Firth is very fine indeed as Sergeant Troy -- this may be his best role yet on the small screen.
The music is charming; the settings and costumes are perfect... Sit back for a few hours, and simply bask in the the warmth of this production. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The supporting cast (particularly the other key roles) and production is excellent, as it was in the Christie version, although the Christie version veered away from the novel in some points that seemed unnecessary and a bit confusing.
For me, however, Baeza's grasp of Bathsheba was perfect, showing her for the talented young actress she is, and it is this that rates this version, for me, well above the Christie version.
I would recommend this version to any one.
Upon inheriting her uncle's farm, the beautiful and assertive Bathsheba Everdene (Paloma Baeza) is the most sought after maiden in the whole of Weatherbury. She's forced to choose between the affections of three very different men; local shepherd Gabriel Oak, gentleman farmer Mr. Boldwood and the womanising Sargeant Frank Troy. Here, Hardy's classic tale of love, betrayal and tragedy is faithfully dramatised. The 1967 Julie Christie version is good, but this is even better!
However I was intrigued to discover that there was a rival version originally produced for ITV around 1997 selling on the Amazon website for the extremely modest price of £4.46. So more out of curiosity than expectation I ordered it. Never having heard of I'm afraid any of the actors my expectations were low - so much in fact that when the DVD arrived I put it on my shelves without giving it a second glance. It was two months before I ventured to give it a try - WOW!!
The whole production is spellbinding, glorious beyond belief, and recreates superbly the much loved Hardy characters in a way I could never imagine.There is nothing here that is anything but total perfection and, for me, transcends the 1967 film interpretation in a way I never thought possible.
For a start this interpretation, directed by Nicholas Renton and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones, is a good hour longer - almost four hours but not a minute too long - to great advantage. It gives the film to explore in greater detail the detailed character of the principal performers. Paloma Baeza creates a Bathsheba who is totally credible; here is a complex character whose actions can now be more fully understood, a performance which in one moment makes us smile, but in the next brings tears to our eyes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far From the Madding crowd is performed and filmed with skill. It sticks to the story which is probably Hardie's best. The other films are also up to the same level.Published 2 months ago by Marham
This version is in my opinion the best one, it is faithful to the book,
And the acting is superb. One of those films you feel drawn into. Read more
This drama is well cast and the acting great. Beautiful scenery of the Dorset countryside.
I remember struggling through the book at school, and didn't enjoy it much. Read more
I had watched this series when it was first shown, and I'd honestly forgotten how good it was!
It sticks closely to the novel-dialogue, sequence of events etc. Read more
wuthering heights was chillingly disturbing, watch madding yest, wonderful hours of entertainment and looking forward to the last film on there. Read morePublished 6 months ago by caro