Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Classic Masterpiece Book & DVD Set
Actors: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson, John Collin, Tony Church
Director: Roman Polanski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Roman Polanski adapted Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles and came up with this moody, haunting film starring Nastassia Kinski as the farm girl who is misused by the aristocrat for whom she works and who is the... more »
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Shabby Treatment of Tess - Columbia screws up again!
C. Porter | London- UK | 10/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Roman Polanski's film of Tess finally makes it to DVD but in such a poor transfer that it hardly seems worthwhile. This is a film of rare beauty in so many ways and long awaited so why have Columbia given it such a cheap and nasty transfer to DVD.
The print is not new and not restored. The colours are bright and true but there are loads of artifacts, scratches, dots, jumps, speckles etc throughout the film.This is a 3 hour film and there are very good extras, 72 minutes worth, taking the running time to over 4 hours. Columbia decides to cram all this information onto a single disc and naturally the picture and sound quality suffer. If they had gone to a second disc this would be improved but the print used is still far from perfect.
Important also; this copy is not the 'roadshow' version that played the major cities on its initial release with the intermission and musical overtures, however they have left the exit music at the end but cut off the final few chords!!!
Even worse is the sound quality. This was one of the first major features to use 'Dolby Stereo'. On its initial release the sound was flawless with a very lively surround track and great depth that particularly showed off the luscious score by Phillipe Sarde. The print used here has not been enhanced for 5:1 and doesnt even seem to have been remastered for DVD. Throughout the film there are wierd low frequency rumblings and distortions, and more irritatingly 'hiss'. These episodes come and go but generally the sound balance is all wrong. When the surround does come to life it leaps into life but with strange sounds coming from strange places in the sound stage.During the Stonehenge sequence at the end of the film when there is supposed to be spiritual activity coming from the surround channel, on this DVD version sounds like a party going on nearby. Very disturbing at the climax of the film. The sound levels are inconsistent throughout - sometimes very loud followed by too quiet and I found myself consistently reaching for the remote.
This is yet another blunder by Columbia as it is sold as an overpriced SE. Which means that we are unlikely to see a decent transfer in the next 10 years.This is a shabby way to treat such a special and beautiful film after so many years of neglect. Buyer beware!"
Exquisite, captivating, unsurpassed film adaptation of Hardy
email@example.com | Salisbury, Wiltshire, England | 01/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I write as someone with an English ancestry going back three centuries and a passionate love for Hardy's novels and poetry. I live within five miles of Dorset and have visited practically all the towns and villages mentioned by Hardy using his Wessex aliases. I was prepared to scoff at Tess - Polish director on the run from US police, a German girl in the title role, French locations and finance...even a mock Stonehenge. I was wrong, hopelessly wrong. Today I remain in total thrall to this movie, Roman Polanski and Nastassja Kinski. I believe it is an artistic masterpiece just as important in its own way as an Old Master painting or a Shakespearean sonnet. Tess has enriched my life, and, having it watched it at least 50 times, provides an enduring source of pleasure to me. Yes, there are moments that jar - Nastassja's occasionally-heard Teutonic accent as in "Let me see that ledder (letter)" and, in one hilarious moment, even balalaika music - but I can forgive them without the slightest hesitation. I know the area in which Hardy set Tess, and, astonishingly - as he filmed it in Normandy - Polanski has managed to recreate some Dorset settings with almost mystical skill. Marnhull, or Hardy's Marlot, for example, has a real-life church on a hill that can be seen for miles - so does the village as seen in the film. Was it accidental, or just another example of Polanski's passion for detail and authenticity for which he is justly renowned? Unfortunately, Nastassja has made some real lemons since Tess and sadly she may never turn in another performance of such outstanding brilliance. Or will she? Hardy's remaining works may give her that chance. How would she fare, for example, as Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd? If you want my opinion, divinely."
THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE
N. P. Judd | East Granby .Connecticut . | 08/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I went to see this movie at the Odeon Southampton , England , the week it came out . It changed my life and not only re introduced me to Thomas Hardy but also set a benchmark for production values that no movie has ever come close to .
There is true elegance in every frame and the movie has a soundtrack to die for .
You need to own this DVD . You really do .
"Beauty has its price..."
C. R. Bell | New York, NY | 10/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Indeed, beauty does have its price. One of them it seems is obscurity, for why else should this consummate jewel of a film rest so unacknowledged in the pantheon of great epics? It wasn't a financial flop at the time of its original release, as it grossed close to $100 million at the US box office; nor was it critically denied as the recipient of three academy awards, plus an Oscar nomination for best picture. Still very few people today evoke or even recall the majesty of Polanski's work here. It's a shame. One I hope will be partially rectified with this DVD's release.
"TESS" is one of the most stunning, memorable and emotional epics ever shot. It's a film that picks you up and carries you away to a pre-feminist era where even the most hardened sexual traditionalist will find themselves burning bras and advocating Steinem, Friedan, Walker and De Beauvoir.
This movie should be required viewing for any girl reaching the age of twelve. Not only will it teach them how to resist the lure of trading upon their youth and beauty as a means of advancement in life. It drives home the difficulties of regaining one's independence once such qualities have been exploited.
Wonderful work abounds in this production but it is Polanski's sober direction, Kinski's achingly earnest performance and Geoffrey Unsworth's and Ghislain Cloquet's extraordinary cinematography that carry the day.
"Once victim always victim, that's the law." - is the heartbreaking line Tess delivers to the evil Alec as he attempts to regain her favor amidst her own personal tragedies. The upper hand, briefly, is hers as he sneers his response with a mouth full of blood after being struck sharply by her heavy farm worker's glove. If no man will defend her honor then damn it she'll do it herself. You go girl!!!
P.S. While the film is first rate, this DVD transfer is not. Tess aficionados will notice that several edits have been made to the film, the most shocking being when Tess is picked up by Alec in his gig for transport to Trantridge. In the original film as Tess is being driven away her younger sister asks her mother "Is that the gentleman who's going to marry our Tess?" Whereupon the mother replies "God willing my girl, that's the one." On this DVD version, silence.
Also the music over the ending credits has been altered! Instead of the dramatic resurgence of Tess' tragic theme that had my heart in my throat as a teenager, I was aghast to hear a downbeat replaying of one of the soundtrack's minor themes, thoroughly robbing the film of its powerful Stonehenge set crescendo!
I love this movie so much that I am still giving it five stars but is this the best Columbia could do for one of its classics? Shabby treatment indeed for what merited a milestone! One can only hope that somehow Criterion will get their hands on the rights and give this work of genius the debut it deserves!"