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Under the Greenwood Tree
Under the Greenwood Tree
Actors: Keeley Hawes, James Murray, Terry Mortimer, Richard Leaf, Tony Haygarth
Director: Nicholas Laughland
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     1hr 33min

In a small village in the south of England, Dick Dewy, a handsome working man, falls in love with Fancy Day, a newly arrived schoolteacher from a wealthy family who happens to be the village beauty. But other, richer men a...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Keeley Hawes, James Murray, Terry Mortimer, Richard Leaf, Tony Haygarth
Director: Nicholas Laughland
Creators: Douglas Rae, Jeremy Gwilt, Kit Williams, Matthew Arlidge, Robert Bernstein, Ashley Pharoah, Thomas Hardy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Drama
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/25/2006
Original Release Date: 04/23/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 04/23/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 25
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

As for me, I'm......I'm a woman of Mellstock
Lynne P. Caldwell | Dadeville, AL USA | 05/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE, published way back in 1872, is Thomas Hardy's first popular novel. So many of Hardy's beloved novels have the underlying theme of forbidden love. Someone is always in love with a person from the wrong social class. Who could forget the bewitching Bathsheba Everdene in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and the spell she casts on three defenseless men (well 2 of them, anyway)? UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE is the charming and adorable story of Miss Fancy Day, the lovely and spirited schoolteacher who is hired by the town parson to teach the children of Mellstock. And here again, a spell is quickly cast on three men.

First, we have Dick Dewy, the shy and handsome carrier (predecessor to moving van company) who is quite poor. Then there is Frederic (Farmer) Shiner the wealthiest man in Mellstock (and Fancy's father's choice). Last, we have Mr. Maybold, the arrogant town parson who feels very superior to his parishioners.

Music also 'plays' an important part in this lighthearted little story. The church choir is constantly playing their instruments or singing. They welcome Miss Day to the community by serenading her under her window. They are also replaced--much to everyone's consternation, by Pastor Maybold's new harmonium (at the Church). There are many parties and dances that utilize this little orchestra. Even at the end of the film, these musicians again serenade Fanny in an act of contrition. She has become very despondent about her future in this little village and when the band plays, she realizes that she truly loves where she lives. In fact, upon being proposed to by Mr. Maybold, she retorts, (when told how superior she is to the villagers) "As for me, I'm......I'm a woman of Mellstock."

We can tell what season it is by looking at the leaves on the Greenwood Tree in the little village. It takes a year for the leading characters in this story to make major transformations in their thoughts and actions: Dick Dewy becomes ambitious to win the affections of Fancy. Fancy and her father also change...............farmer Shiner will be glad to change in order to acquire Fancy's affections!

I absolutely adored this little film (as I do Thomas Hardy). Compared to Hardy's other works, this is a much lighter fare. It still has the lively heroine and the great romance but we don't have to go through any of the great sadness and torment that we find in his deeper novels. Hardy, who grew up in a town like Mellstock, took the title from a poem by Shakespeare's, AS YOU LIKE IT:

Under the greenwood tree,
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither;
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather."
So sweet! I can't believe this is Thomas Hardy!
Sarah Olivia | United States | 04/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The course of true love never did run smooth, and Dick and Fancy certainly have their share of thorns in love's path. The eligible bachelors of a small country village pine for Fancy Day. Fancy reminds me of a 19th-century Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) who is lucky enough to have all of the hot men interested in her. Dick is immediately drawn to Fancy and is not discouraged by the class difference. Fancy's father was the gamekeeper for the estate of his wife's family; his wife was spurned by her family when she eloped with Mr. Day. Fancy is well educated and takes a position as the local schoolteacher. Mr. Day encourages his daughter to accept the hand of a wealthy farmer, Mr. Shiner. Mr. Shiner is sweet and well-intentioned, but Fancy feels no love or attraction for him. I thought it admirable of Mr. Shiner to admonish Reverend Maybold to treat Fancy well or the parson will have him to answer to. Mr. Shiner wrongly assumes that Fancy is in love with Rev. Maybold when she refuses his hand. Fancy loves Dick who is loved in turn by a young woman of Dick's class. Thomas Hardy critiques class boundaries and reveals them as problematic in a far lighter manner than he does in his other novels. I never read this novel; in fact, I had never even heard of it. I'm used to downward spirals, thwarted love, and hanged heroines when I think of Thomas Hardy. This novel is a refreshing break from the darker pen of the great writer.

Dick is so handsome and passionate (the casting is perfect in "Under the Greenwood Tree") that I can't imagine refusing him! The scenes between Dick and Fancy are filled with electricity and are even erotic in an understated way. I love when Dick chides Fancy for lacking the courage to follow her heart and states that he would marry the lowliest milkmaid from the direst of circumstances if he loved her. Nothing would matter except Dick's love for the woman, even if he was a high-born, landed gentleman.

This short film is romanticism at its best. As I said in my title for the review: it's so sweet that I can't believe it's Thomas Hardy! Not to disparage his bleaker novels, but I really like this softer side of Thomas Hardy."
"We could have been more than friends, if you'd had the cour
CodeMaster Talon | Orlando, FL United States | 12/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Oh wow was this unexpectedly good. I spent my senior year blazing through Hardy's novels, which are great but a tad gloomy, with the exception of "Under the Greenwood Tree", which was written before Hardy himself became depressed and decided to depress high school students for generations to come. This BBC version differs from the novel in several key areas, and at the risk of committing literary sacrilege I will go so far as to call it an improvement.

The story is fairly simple; Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes) is the daughter of a nobody who has basically been in life training to marry someone rich. She returns to the town of her father, and immediately attracts three suitors, two acceptable and one really really not (the highly appealing James Murray). Guess which one she ends up wanting?

The film truly is a departure from the book, as Fancy is much more sympathetic here (she was kind of a twit in the novel), and Dick Dewey less of a country dolt and much more of a hottie. Hawes and Murray have spectacular chemistry, in fact they seem barely able to breathe in each other's presence. Another reviewer describes the music as repetitive; it is. But I happen to like the refrain, so I wasn't bothered by it. Besides, the end of the film contains a stunning acapella sung by the village men, a total and unexpected delight. The scenery is lovely, the story engaging, the acting splendid, and Murray gorgeous. I consider this film superior to "Wives and Daughters", and while not as complex and thought-provoking as "Berkley Square", certainly as much fun. Highly recommended.

Grade: A"
Lighthearted and charming......
Marcy Gomez | Kansas City, USA | 04/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Under the Greenwood Tree" is a charming adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name. And unlike Thomas Hardy's other dramatic and often tragic novels (think "Tess" and "Far From the Madding Crowd"), "Under the Greenwood Tree" is surprisingly lighthearted and carefree.

It is a tale about a lovely young lady named Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes of "Our Mutual Friend" and "Wives and Daughters") who returns to the village of Mellstock to teach and care for her father. Soon after her arrival she catches the eye of three very different men: Mr. Shiner (Steve Pemberton), the wealthy and determined landowner; Dick Dewey, a handsome yet poor carrier; and Rev. Maybold (Ben Miles of "Coupling" and "The Forsyte Saga"), the town's vicar. Fancy's father urges Mr. Shiner's suite but Fancy cannot make up her mind. Should she follow her heart and marry the man she truly loves or marry the man who can provide for her and her father?

"Under the Greenwood Tree" introduces some quirky and interesting characters and watching it is very much akin to sitting under a tree (greenwood tree?) and enjoying the breeze. Unlike most British period dramas that take several hours to conclude, "Under the Greenwood Tree" is less than 2 hours long and is a delight to watch. The story moves rather quickly and, as always, there are some misunderstandings and hurdles before Fancy finally makes her final choice.

I was especially struck by James Murray, who plays Dick Dewey with such charm, charisma and is so dashing that he almost outshines the lovely Keeley Hawes. I had never heard of him before but you can bet that I'll be keeping an eye on him from this day on. Ms. Hawes is always a pleasure to watch although this doesn't quite match her performances in "Our Mutual Friend" or "Wives and Daughters." Ben Miles, as always, does a creditable job as the solemn vicar. There are some other good supporting roles, most particularly by Tony Haygarth who plays Dick Dewey's father and Tom Georgeson who plays Fancy's father.

I would certainly recommend "Under the Greenwood Tree" to fans of British period films. It is a charming little period piece that is a delight to watch. There are some wonderfully romantic moments and the chemistry between Fancy and her most ardent suitor is irresistible. If you're looking for something fun, romantic and British, then this is right up your alley."