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Wives and Daughters (Repackaged) [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Francesca Annis, Ian Carmichael, Deborah Findlay, Barbara Flynn, Michael Gambon
  • Directors: Nicholas Renton
  • Writers: Andrew Davis
  • Producers: Sue Birtwistle
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jan. 2012
  • Run Time: 301 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006NZ65LY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,734 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's unfinished novel. The decision of long-time widower Mr Gibson (Bill Paterson) to remarry has several repercussions for his daughter, Molly (Justine Waddell), who resents the arrival of her stepmother (Francesca Annis). However, Molly also acquires a stepsister, Cynthia (Keeley Hawes), with whom she soon forms a close bond. Their relationship is later put to the test, however, when they both set their sights on the same man.

From Amazon.co.uk

Andrew Davies' 1999 adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's Wives and Daughters was hailed as the rediscovery of a "forgotten" classic novel and found the BBC on the crest of a wave with costume dramas--led by Pride and Prejudice. Handsome and beautifully filmed, if anything, it surpassed the quality of even that highly praised landmark production.

"We should all look pretty strange under a microscope," botanist Robert Hamley tells our heroine Molly Gibson and of course Mrs Gaskell places all her characters under intense scrutiny, with affection but without judgement. Davies' screenplay peals back the layers, giving full vent to the comedy, tragedy and satire that drive this tale of provincial life to its highly satisfactory conclusion. Justine Waddell imbues Molly with an increasingly exasperated but remarkably forbearing intelligence, while Francesca Annis, as the outrageously self-absorbed step-mother Hyacinth, paints a wonderful portrait of affectation without ever totally alienating our sympathy. Michael Gambon's immensely touching Squire Hamley won him a Best Actor BAFTA, but all the performances are uniformly excellent, contributing immeasurably to five hours of television drama of the highest calibre.

On the DVD: Presented in 16:9 format with a Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack, this two-disc presentation retains all the hallmarks of the original BBC viewing experience. The picture quality is lush--the production lighting is excellent--and the sound quality sharp. The only gripe is with the extras: the Omnibus documentary "Who the Dickens is Mrs Gaskell?" is brutally truncated, cutting off talking heads like novelists Fay Weldon and Margaret Drabble in their prime and giving limited insight into how the production was made. As an audio bonus, there is also 30 minutes of John Keane's music.--Piers Ford

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
It's almost impossible not to compare this with the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (which I also love). This is slightly harder work, I think -- it's not so immediately compelling, less of a confection and more of a meal. The nature of the storytelling is different, even if the scripts were in the same capable hands (Andrew Davies's) and the production values similar (though I suspect they had less money to throw at this).
Wives and Daughters is altogether darker, deeper, and more human than the frothy P&P. Here, we have racial and religious prejudice and its consequences, more than one death, and a far more cruel and direct portrayal of ruinous gossip than ever threatened the Bennet girls. Also, one of the most powerfully romantic moments I've ever seen dramatised: the offering of flowers to heroine Molly in the final episode, and the superb, heart-wrenching give-and-take dialogue that goes with it.
It's hard to fault the casting or acting. Justine Waddell is perfect and perfectly (if unconventionally) beautiful in the central role of Molly. The "mother" character has been compared to Austen's Mrs Bennet, but Francesca Annis as Molly's stepmother Hyacinth brought far more depth to her role. If you were irritated by Alison Steadman's shrieking Mrs Bennet, you might just end up actually wanting to strangle the colder, more devious Hyacinth :-)
To sum up, I can enjoy Pride and Prejudice over and over again without feeling sated, but it doesn't move me to tears the way this does.
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Format: DVD
After watching it may times over, this has become one of my favorite screen adaptations of classical novels. I never thought any movie could come close to Pride and Prejudice in that sense, but this one truly does. Elizabeth Gaskell (novelist) has no black and white characters, just like in George Eliot novels one learns to understand the misfortunes and good sides of the less sympathetic people(like the step mother and step daughter at the start) and one feels with all characters, which in my opinion gives more depth to a story. In this one the deep affection between the Heroine and her father is very beautifully described, as well as the growing love between the Heroine and her neighbor the Squires son. Equally much we get involved in the aging Squires worries and hopes for his two sons to make it in this world, beautifully acted by Michael Gambon. His performance is stunning and brings you to tears. No wonder he won a BAFTA for this one!

This movie is one of the best to describe both awakening love, peoples honest intentions and care for loved ones in the 19th century rural England. One just loves the whole story and the people in it very much!

Very highly recommended to everyone fond of the complex human nature, passion, relationships, good dialog and good acting. I wish there would be more adaptations like this, were all pieces fall into place equally well: very well directed, high quality production with acclaimed cast, costumes, scenery and footage. Don't miss it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the second Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation I watched. Although it is not as stunning and breathtakingly dramatic as North & South - of course the topics handled are very different -, it is a masterpiece of its own right with wonderful cast& crew.
Jusitne Waddel (Molly) and Bill Patterson (dr Gibson)play daughter and father very convincingly: you can feel their down-to-earth, but strong and heart-warming affection for each other. Nothing superficial or pretentious. Francesca Annis (Clare Gibson) and Keely Hawes (her daughter, Cynthia) are perfectly suited as mother and daughter: you can grasp the physical and characteristic similarities. One of the most annoying and at the same time most delightful scenes is when Mr Gibson gives a piece of her mind to Cynthia for putting Molly's good reputation at stake and both Cynthia and Mrs Gibson are crying, feeling they've been sadly abused & misunderstood while Molly - the only person having ground to feel injured - is standing there patiently, not saying a word. Their carelessness and selfishness is featured wonderfully in that scene.
Justine Waddel was a fresh and lively Molly. Keely Hawes was a wondeful Cynthia: you couldn't help liking and disliking her at the same time. Iain Glen's acting was also very good: he was good-looking, but repulsive at the same time. Francesca Annis and Michael Gambon were both superb.
Supporting actors were very well chosen: I especially liked the beautiful Rosamund Pike as aristocratic, independent Lady Harriet.
BBC has done its best again.
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Format: DVD
I'm a real lover of series like this so i may be prejudiced. However i must say that if you want to see a movie based on one of the classics it's best to see a tv adaptation. Series like this are not confined to 2 hours so they are , most of the time, much more faithfull to the book. The players in this serie are great. But i must say that Francesca Annis really shines.Bravo for cast AND crew !
Sit down and make an evening of it !
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By Christine L HALL OF FAME on 27 Dec. 2001
Format: DVD
When I read the comparisons between Wives and Daughters and various Jane Austen adaptations I immediately prepared for the worst as such comparisons generally have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't dream of comparing the story with any of Jane Austen's work, but for lovers of period dramas it's a cracking good story and a wonderful adaptation. I was most impressed with the fact that this story has avoided many of the period drama cliches that tend to ruin so many stories. It's told in a rather modest and straightforward way that greatly appeals to me and I can quite happily let a dull and grey afternoon go by while I tuck up in front of the telly and watch Wives and Daughters.
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