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(From the 2008 Masterpiece Theatre season.) When plain, poor John Durbeyfield discovers that he’s descended from the great aristocratic family of the D’Urbervilles, he gets some pretty heavy delusions of grandeur. His lovely daughter Tess is made to suffer for them when she is sent to claim kinship with the great family. Tess is innocent and overwhelmed; she is easy prey for the manipulative and possessive D’Urberville son Alec. But Tess is also proud and determined not to let one event overshadow her life’s happiness. She meets a gentleman named Angel Clare, a kindred spirit who idolizes Tess--but will he still adore her if she reveals her past? The double-standard that women were held to in the nineteenth century still resonates, and Tess’ story of love and betrayal is timeless. The love triangle is made up of a striking trio of actors—Hans Matheson from television’s The Tudors as Alec D’Urberville, Eddie Redmayne from The Other Boleyn Girl as Angel Clare, and Gemma Arterton as Tess, previously a Bond girl in Quantam of Solace. All are dramatic, passionate, and compelling, Tess most of all. Elegantly filmed, intense and romantic, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is from the most recent season of Masterpiece Theatre classics. The novel is well worth reading; Thomas Hardy’s prose is poetic and his depiction of Tess’ character is more finely wrought than any film could depict. Originally published in 1891, both Penguin Classics and Vintage Classics have printed recent editions.
posted Jul 6, 2009 at 11:48AM
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