Tess

Tess

4.0 1
Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Leigh Lawson, Peter Firth

     
 

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In Roman Polanski's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Nastassja Kinski plays Tess, a poor British peasant girl sent to live with her distant and wealthy relatives, the D'Urbervilles. Though Tess' father had hoped that the girl would be permitted a portion of the D'Urberville riches, he is in for a major disappointment: Tess' new housematesSee more details below

Overview

In Roman Polanski's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Nastassja Kinski plays Tess, a poor British peasant girl sent to live with her distant and wealthy relatives, the D'Urbervilles. Though Tess' father had hoped that the girl would be permitted a portion of the D'Urberville riches, he is in for a major disappointment: Tess' new housemates are not D'Urbervilles at all, but a social-climbing family that has bought the name. Tess won three Oscars, including a "Best Cinematography" statuette for the late Geoffrey Unsworth and his successor Ghislain Cloquet. The film also served to catapult Nastassja Kinski to stardom.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Tess is Roman Polanski's sparse, straightforward, unsentimental adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy's classic novel of a woman whose compromised chastity triggers her tragic downfall. Clocking in at 170 minutes, Tess takes a leisurely approach to advancing the narrative, but remains distant, preferring a remote look at the bleakness of Victorian England to the gussied-up flair featured in other costume dramas. Cinematographers Ghislain Cloquet and Geoffrey Unsworth, who won Oscars for their work, put an appropriately gray Victorian England up onscreen, its sunless atmosphere in line with the themes of the novel. The quiet, contemplative nature of the film is echoed, although not so skillfully, in the lead performance of Natassja Kinski. Seemingly cast more for her soulful eyes (and Polanski's budding relationship with her) than her acting, Kinski gives a tentative, one-note performance that is nearly inaudible. Still, it served to deliver her a variety of other projects and bring her limited stardom. Peter Firth's turn as Angel Clare, whose spurning of Tess is almost crueler than her misuse at the hands of her sham cousin (Leigh Lawson), is typical of Polanski's (and Hardy's) skepticism about the possibility of true romantic heroism. The film clearly portrays why a woman's faith in God would waver when faced with a world that refuses to distinguish the victim from the victimizer. In an interesting side note, Polanski dedicated Tess to his real-life tragic heroine, his murdered wife, Sharon Tate.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/02/1998
UPC:
0043396506336
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nastassja Kinski Tess Durbeyfield
Leigh Lawson Alec d'Urberville
Peter Firth Angel Clare
John Collin Mr. John Durbeyfield
David Markham Rev. Mr. Clare
Rosemary Martin Mrs. Durbeyfield
Carolyn Pickles Miriam
Richard Pearson Vicar of Marlott
Pascale de Boysson Mrs. Clare
Peter Benson Religious Fanatic
Dicken Ashworth Farmer Groby
John Barrett Old dairy band
John Bett Felix Clare
Jeanne Biras Girl in Meadow
Fred Bryant Dairyman Crick
Keith Buckley Possman
Tom Chadbon Cuthbert Clare
Tony Church Parson Tringham
Sylvia Coleridge Mrs. d'Urberville
Forbes Collins New tenant
Josine Comellas Mrs. Crick
Arielle Dombasle Mercy Chant
Lesley Dunlop Girl in benbouse
Caroline Embling Retty
Jimmy Gardner Pedler
John Gill Landlord
Suzanna Hamilton Izz
Jacque Mathou Harvester
John Moore Possman
Patsy Rowlands Landlady
Patsy Smart Housekeeper
Jacob Weizbluth Yokel at barn-dance
Graham Weston Constable
Marilyne Even Girl in benbouse
Anne Tirard Old dairy band

Technical Credits
Roman Polanski Director,Screenwriter
Claude Berri Producer
Gérard Brach Screenwriter
John Brownjohn Screenwriter
Timothy Burrill Co-producer
Ghislain Cloquet Cinematographer
Pierre Grunstein Executive Producer
Pierre Guffroy Production Designer
Didier Lavergne Makeup
Paul Maigret Production Manager
Alastair McIntyre Editor
Anthony Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Priestley Editor
Jean-Pierre Rassam Associate Producer
Philippe Sarde Score Composer
Mary Selway Casting
Jack Stephens Art Director
Geoffrey Unsworth Cinematographer

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