PBS Introduces Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles: Jan 4 & Jan 11 9 PM
I was able to snag a screener of Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and it was awesome. This is a lengthy presentation — 2 parts over 2 weeks, a total of 4 hours. I managed to watch it all in one night to get the entire sequence in me to be able to wrap my head around it. While PBS calles it a sob story, it’s more a Cinderella story that has truly gone awry and turns into a tragedy.
There is no humor, there is a moment of happiness but much of the plot revolves around how Tess feels and is responsible for supporting her family as much as she can because her father (the Sir John Derbyfield/D’Urberville) is a drunkard.
The LA Times television critic Mary McNamara commented about the series/drama
Used and abused by pretty much every man who meets her, the perilously lovely Tess was Hardy’s way of protesting the sexual double-standard of Victorian England, while, of course, reaping the benefit of it. Tess herself never considers protesting her own plight because she believes that, as a woman and therefore the natural embodiment of sexual temptation, she deserves it.
She is the sacrifice that brings about revolution, rather than the revolution itself.
As those who have read the book or seen any of the film adaptations know, “Tess” is not for the weak of heart. It is, in virtually any incarnation, what one might call a sobfest. With a four-hour run time, a lead actress who never looks as lovely as when she is blinking back tears and camera work that continually offers gorgeous vistas you know will only turn eventually to ash, this BBC version should be approached with caution.
Much in the genre, The Duchess, this is the real down and dirty situation of the working class and what life was like for women and what they were to endure. It will make you cringe in horror and then also wonder at what point have we truly as a global society gotten past this situation (particularly in third world countries and sweat shop labor).
This series stars
Gemma Arterton (James Bond: Quantum of Solace),
Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl)
and Hans Matheson (The Tudors).
A must-see tv — definitely set this up for TIVO or DVR becaause you don’t want to miss it. This is one of those movies that really is not just a chick-flick, it’s historical, classical drama that’s really well done.
PBS Tess of the D’Urbevilles DVD