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The Woman in White
The Woman in White
Actor: Tara Fitzgerald; Justine Waddell; Andrew Lincoln; Susan Vidler; John Standing; Adie Allen; Ian Richardson; James Wilby; Ann Bell; Anne Etchells; Timothy Carlton; Simon Callow; Tony Spooner; Sean Gleeson; Kika Markham; Corin Redgrave; Nicholas Woodeson; Er
Director: Tim Fywell
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     2hr 0min

Set in the late 19th century, this adaptation of Wilkie Collins' mystery thriller is a slowly unraveling nightmare that reveals a dark world of powerful and dangerous men. A young drawing master, Mr. Hartright (Andrew Lin...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Tara Fitzgerald; Justine Waddell; Andrew Lincoln; Susan Vidler; John Standing; Adie Allen; Ian Richardson; James Wilby; Ann Bell; Anne Etchells; Timothy Carlton; Simon Callow; Tony Spooner; Sean Gleeson; Kika Markham; Corin Redgrave; Nicholas Woodeson; Er
Director: Tim Fywell
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Period Piece, Drama, Miniseries, British Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/25/2005
Original Release Date: 04/05/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 04/05/1998
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Kendra M. (KendraM) from NASHVILLE, TN
Reviewed on 3/6/2008...
No, this is not a faithful adaptation, but it is a very good adaptation. As this is a Masterpiece Theatre production, there is an introduction and a conclusion that is included, but not part of the actual film. The conclusion explains why so much of the novel was left out and explains some important plot points of the novel that were excluded from the film. This includes the the "Paris scene" as one reviewer distressingly noted--which ties up the loose ends concerning Count Fosco.

Noting that they wanted to make a 2 hour film, they did a superb job. And, really, this film would be more fun if you haven't read the book so please don't let that deter you if you haven't read the book. Actually, if you haven't read the book, I'd suggest you see the film first. That will make you go out and want to read the book immediately-- and you won't be disappointed with either!

The first two-thirds of this movie was very good; the last, superb. I thought the casting was good although, admittedly, Count Fosco was an odd choice. Still, it worked-- he had an immense amount of charm, and and immense amount of evil-- the only thing that he lacked was his immense weight.

I thought the script and the casting were perfect. Maybe the only thing that faltered a bit was the direction and I'm not certain as to what could have been better. After the climactic moment at the asylum (which completely caused chills), however, I found no fault at all in the director's work. I usually enjoy these productions a bit more than my husband and he found this film to be a five-star.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Impossible to Reconcile the Violently Negative Reviews with
Richard L. Scheer | Beaumont, Texas USA | 10/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I find it unusual that the reviews of this movie are so skewed at the very ends of the continuum of great to horrible. Whenever this happens, I am tempted to see the movie and judge for myself. That is what I suggest to viewers here. I have both read the book and seen the movie, and I, unusually it seems, like both. I obviously do not require pedantic faithfulness to the book in order to have a resulting good story.

It would take a lengthy mini-series to present this story as Wilkie Collins wrote it, and it is a magnificent book, in conception as well as in execution. It is written from the perspective of several characters in the book, and the differing viewpoints and their presentations are remarkably well done by Collins. The Moonstone may be the more popular of the two books, but Collins himself recognized the literary grandeur of The Woman in White, noting his authorship of it, not of The Moonstone, on his tombstone.

It would be immensely difficult, in my opinion, and probably would cost too much, to bring the book faithfully to the movie or television screen. This version is as good as we are likely to see, and, again in my opinion, this is a good version. If one has not read the book, and, as a practical matter, I think most viewers will not have, one will find this a compelling story, well told and uniformly well acted. Why should not those who have not read the book become familiar with Collins and this story and be entertained by it -- even if it is not entirely, or even largely, faith to the book? After all, there are many books that are not faithfully brought to production, but that does not necessarily mean that the story, as revised to fit time and pecuniary restraints of production, will not be entertaining. This story is.

So try it for yourself, even if you have read the book, and judge for yourself. Whenever I see such emotionally negative reviews, and when they are so intensely stated, resulting in so obviously distorted a view of the subject movie, I wonder if there is a reason, such as a somewhat narrow and tiresome attempt at display of learning (e.g., the reviewer, among few others sufficiently erudite, knows that this movie is quite different from the book), that accounts for the negativism, with no thought being given to the entertainment value of the movie, which should be the primary criterion of review."
The worst adaptation of this great novel
Stan Brown | Macon, Georgia | 05/06/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"If you know absolutely nothing about Wilkie Collins's novel, you might like this movie--although even so, you would likely be irritated by the late 20th-century suspense movies cliches forced back on this tale of the 19th century. (...) If you do know Collins's great, complex novel, this movie will break your heart, because the plot is so reduced and simplified and altered that you get only the barest glimmer of it. I wish the 1970s BBC miniseries, which aired on Masterpiece Theatre in 1982, would be released on video or DVD. That miniseries had 5 hour-long episodes and was really excellent."
Tara Fitzgerald Fans Love it. Others Beware.
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 07/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"After watching the superb adaptation of "Moonstone," another entry in Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, it is a disappointment to find that this version of "The Woman in White" could not do the same job. From the first, there was two difficulties to be overcome. One is the casting of the two leading ladies, Marian and Laura, and as far as this point is concerned, this film is successful. Tara Fitzgerald is ideal for the strong-willed Marian, and Jusine Waddell fits in fairy-like personality of Laura though Simon Callow's Count Fosco is sorely miscast (and his speech sounds too British to me) Now the second problem comes next: how can you visualize the complex plot of the original book, which has more than five major narrators? The filmmaker tried to solve the problem by making the whole story as Marian's, and Marian's relationship with her half- sister Laura is stressed. The decision is not a bad one, considering the considerable Tara Fitzgerald's presence and her reliable acting. However, in order to emphasize this point of view, the film introduces too many unnecessary changes that only distract the viewers (especially, those who had read the book). For instance, the hero Walter is "dismissed" from the country house being disgraced by a scandal instead of willingly leaving there as he does in the book. And Walter, unwillingly leaving her house, warns Laura, his love, against the danger that he believes is coming, but as no clue as to the nature of this danger is revealed, we are only left unconvinced about it. As if to justfy his words, this danger soon comes in the shape of Sir Percival and Count Fasco, and hurriedly their secret mission is implied and detected by the sisters, but as the film desperately attempts to stress this danger and the psychological warfare between Marian & Laura vs Percival & Fosco, the second half of the second film has totally transformed itself into different work, which is filled with gunshot, poison, a fall from a tower, and so on. Consequently, though many memorable moments of Collins' original book survive on the screen (such as an encounter with "the Woman in White," a meeting at boathouse, Marian's overhearing secrets in the rain, and burning of a local chapel), they had become only a disjointed series of set-pieces. And it is very strange that the famous scene in Paris is deleted from the ending! To be fair, the suspence and revenge drama is performed pretty well, so if you don't know the original story, you will be drawn into it. But if you remember the thrilling development of the Wilkie Collins classic, you might feel different way."