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ConnieAnnKirk
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TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

[ Edited ]

Let's use this thread for general discussion of TESS as Masterpiece Classics has adapted it into into film.

Message Edited by ConnieK on 01-05-2009 09:57 AM
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Re: TESS: The PBS Film

[ Edited ]
What do you think of the casting, particularly of Tess, Alec, and Angel?  Do the actors bring across traits of the characters you had in mind while reading, or do they bring something different in their portrayals?
Message Edited by ConnieK on 01-05-2009 09:43 AM
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Re: TESS: The PBS Film

Readers of the novel always point out the important presence of the landscape in the story.  How do you find the film handling this aspect? 
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I love the scene with Angel and Mercy meeting in the street.  Wonderfully written and acted!
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Re: TESS: The PBS Film

Angel seems younger than I had perceived him.  Alec is cast well.  Tess I'm not so sure about.  She acts beautifully, but somehow, I can't put my finger on it, but she doesn't seem to me to be true Tess.


ConnieK wrote:
What do you think of the casting, particularly of Tess, Alec, and Angel?  Do the actors bring across traits of the characters you had in mind while reading, or do they bring something different in their portrayals?
Message Edited by ConnieK on 01-05-2009 09:43 AM

 

 

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JohnP51
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

[ Edited ]

To me, Alec was cast perfectly. The rest just don't fit the perception I have of them. Especially Tess' father. Tess seems wrong but I can't put my finger on why I think so. I also had the impression that Tess' first parting from Alec was on a sour note but it was not portrayed as such in last night's episode.

 

As for the landscape, I pictured it to be similar to what was shown in the broadcast.

 

Unfortunately, I was only able to watch about an hour of the show last night due to unexpected company coming over.

 

I see Connie's link to the full episodes online so I will go watch what I missed.

Message Edited by JohnP51 on 01-05-2009 01:51 PM
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Tess seems wrong but I can't put my finger on why I think so.

 

I said much the same thing in an earlier post, but thinking more about it I think it's in part because she seems much too old and, frankly, too sexually aware to fit the part.  She simply doesn't look in the early scenes like a virginal and innocent 16 year old country girl.  And in the scenes in the dairy, she doesn't look as I would think a 20 year old with only one dubious sexual experience behind her would look.  She appears too worldly to fit my vision of Tess.

 

I agree with David that she is not the simpering, weak girl-figure that some versions have presented her as.  But I think she could be present as a strong female presence while still preserving the rural innocence I think Hardy intended her to have when he subtitled his book "A Pure Woman."

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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I have found Alec more likeable, and believable, in the movie so far than in the book.  However, that he initiated no follow-up if his "seduction" was at all sincere is still dastardly.

 

Do take advantage of one of the venues available to watch the second half (quarter) if at all possible, John.

 


JohnP51 wrote:

To me, Alec was cast perfectly. The rest just don't fit the perception I have of them. Especially Tess' father. Tess seems wrong but I can't put my finger on why I think so. I also had the impression that Tess' first parting from Alec was on a sour note but it was not portrayed as such in last night's episode.

 

As for the landscape, I pictured it to be similar to what was shown in the broadcast.

 

Unfortunately, I was only able to watch about an hour of the show last night due to unexpected company coming over.


 

 

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Re: TESS: The PBS Film


ConnieK wrote:
What do you think of the casting, particularly of Tess, Alec, and Angel?  Do the actors bring across traits of the characters you had in mind while reading, or do they bring something different in their portrayals?
Message Edited by ConnieK on 01-05-2009 09:43 AM

 

I like the casting for Alec and Angel. Alec has that icky feel to him while he is chatting up Tess. Angel is a bit young from what I imagined but he does a good job. I am not a fan of Tess. The actress potrays her very hollow where in my mind she has inter stregnth and emotional termoil. I think she is a beauty and forfills that aspect but I am not a big fan.

 

I also agree that the dad is played very oddly. The mother is diffrent then I imagined but I think she comes off a country woman very well.

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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Everyman, bingo! That is it in a nutshell. I just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.

 

I watched the half I missed thanks to the link Connie posted. I've read up to the point where she buries her baby so the rest was all new to me. I have to say that there are some powerful scenes in this film with the unread letter portion being the especially powerful to me. In this part, the lady playing Tess seems to be a much better fit as the worldliness is beginning to show in her character much like I would expect it to.

  

Also, Hardy's condemnation of Victorian society with its view of people by what they do and how wealthy they are are coming through loud and clear. Especially with Angel's conference with his mother and father about Tess and the fact that she "is a milk maid".

 

I should have the rest of Tess read by Jan. 11 so it won't be a surprise to me but I am anxious to see what happens next.

John

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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

However, that he initiated no follow-up if his "seduction" was at all sincere is still dastardly.

 

Actually, I noticed that David did put in a line that suggested that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities if she got pregnant.  I forget the exact words David used here, but  as they were parting on the top of the heath, he had Alec say something like "if anything bad happens, you have only to write to me" or something along those lines.

 

 I just found the actual words in the text.   I think probably David used these words almost or entirely verbatim.  Alec said 

And if certain circumstances should arise--you
understand--in which you are in the least need, the least difficulty,
send me one line, and you shall have by return whatever you require.

 It seems me that the difficulty he is referring to is probably pregnancy, though maybe he was thinking of ot her difficulties also. And after all, he did ask her to stay.  So while he is indeed a cad, he's not quite a total cad.  

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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I haven't had the chance to read the book but I did watch the first half of the film last night. I agree with JohnP51 about the part of the film where Tess is struggling with herself about the unread letter to Angel. It is a very powerful scene. I loved how she left the dress Alec gave her hanging in the same fashion as she found it. The battle between telling Angel the truth via the letter or continuing to suffer by the actions of Alec (symbolized by the dress) is overwhelming in that scene. Overall, I like it so far.
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I'm only about 30 pages into the book, but I did enjoy the first part of the movie... Since I haven't really had the chance to be introduced to many of the characters, I'm not fit to judge if the casting was up to par. However, even without knowing much of his character, I did feel also that the actor who portrays Angel is very young looking!

 

Hopefully I'll be able to finish the novel before next Sunday; I'm dying to know what happens. 

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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Yes, I recalled those lines in both the book and the film.  (Thanks for pulling the exact lines.)  Pretty lame follow-up by any decent human standards in my book, even if Tess would probably have re-buffed him.  ("Call me, I'll find a pharmacist who is open.") 

 

However, I will grant some upside of Alec's character does re-appear.


Everyman wrote:

However, that he initiated no follow-up if his "seduction" was at all sincere is still dastardly.

 

Actually, I noticed that David did put in a line that suggested that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities if she got pregnant.  I forget the exact words David used here, but  as they were parting on the top of the heath, he had Alec say something like "if anything bad happens, you have only to write to me" or something along those lines.

 

 I just found the actual words in the text.   I think probably David used these words almost or entirely verbatim.  Alec said 

And if certain circumstances should arise--you
understand--in which you are in the least need, the least difficulty,
send me one line, and you shall have by return whatever you require.

 It seems me that the difficulty he is referring to is probably pregnancy, though maybe he was thinking of ot her difficulties also. And after all, he did ask her to stay.  So while he is indeed a cad, he's not quite a total cad.  


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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I think that Alec is cast well.  He seems slightly sinister, while also appearing the gentleman.  I do like the actress cast as Tess.  I didn't really find her to be too worldly, other than that one scene in the library where she brushes up against Alec as she leaves.  That one detail really jarred, in my opinion, and it does make her seem more worldly, but other than that I thought she seemed pretty innocent.  I think she looks a little like Liv Tyler.  I'm not crazy about the looks of the actor playing Angel (not criticizing his acting).  I would like Angel to look, well, angelic.  He looks young and a bit gawky instead.
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

[ Edited ]

simple_girl wrote:
I haven't had the chance to read the book but I did watch the first half of the film last night. I agree with JohnP51 about the part of the film where Tess is struggling with herself about the unread letter to Angel. It is a very powerful scene. I loved how she left the dress Alec gave her hanging in the same fashion as she found it. The battle between telling Angel the truth via the letter or continuing to suffer by the actions of Alec (symbolized by the dress) is overwhelming in that scene. Overall, I like it so far.

 

Was it just me, or did the dress almost seem to shimmer in that scene where she decides about the letter?  I sensed there was the fire flickering in the room, but it seemed like the dress was taking on a special meaning in the scene, probably representing the future with Angel.  Since Tess is not materialistic, though, I wondered about the glowing dress.  Or maybe the dress wasn't glowing!  :smileywink:
Message Edited by ConnieK on 01-06-2009 01:29 PM
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I'm sure David had nothing to do with this, but one little thing I noticed:  at the end of the last episode of this first part (which I watched online, and I LOVE that PBS is allowing that!), they show the screen credits "in order of appearance," but it's not; it's in order of, apparently, importance. 
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Re: TESS: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I am trying to finish the book this week as well!  Loved the movie.  I think Tess is cast very well.  I can picture her as Tess while I read the novel. 

 

I agree with the comments about Alec suggesting that she may need his help due to an unexpected pregnancy.  However, I still do not like him.

 

I thought the dress was interesting.  It was faded and looked old.  I wanted her to just throw it out and move on with her new life!

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Re: TESS: The PBS Film

I think that the person playing Alec fits well.  As far as Tess goes, I pictured her being more morose and solemn.  I did not too much like the casting for Angel.  The latter two were not at all as I pictured.  However, I still look forward to seeing the second part. 
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Re: TESS: The PBS Film

Just watched part one of Tess last night.  I have to say I was pleased overall with the movie.  There were little nitpicky things that I critisized.  But I understand they were mostly due to the contraints of production.

 

As for the casting, I have to say that the best performance was given by Hans Matheson as Alec.  He was amazing and superb at portraying the nuances of Alec's character.  He effectively balanced the seductively charming gentleman with the spoiled, sinister and ruthless lover of Tess.   I think I got far more insight into the character of Alec after seeing the movie.  It enriched what I had previously read in the book.  For some strange reason in my mind's eye as I read the book, I pictured Eric McCormick of "Will & Grace" in the part, though of course, he's much too old.  However, he and Matheson do look something alike around the eyes.

 

After reading some of the posts re: Gemma Arterton as Tess, I was surprised how much I liked her.  I'm not saying I thought she was perfect, or performed as abley as Matheson, but I found her believeable for the most part.  Though I did find her physically to be rather tall.  After looking up her bio, I found out she's only 5' 7", maybe the men were short, lol.

She sometimes looked like an amazon standing next to them.  I think even though I never watched Tess with Natassia Kinski, I was picturing her as Tess.

 

I thought the Queen of Spades & the Queen of Hearts were supposed to be the amazonian sisters.  They didn't fit the parts physically at all.  And I found it jarring that they worked in the house, rather than in the fields.  When later in the book so much is made of their expertise at field work. 

 

I didn't really have a picture of Angel in my mind as I read the book, so I didn't have a problem with him physically.  Though someone had mentioned he looked like John Boy Walton, and I did see that.  I'm not sure I really felt the spark between him and Tess.  I don't know if it was the writing, the acting, or the direction.  It just didn't seem like there was enough time spent on the relationship or attraction building.  Or for that matter on what was so wonderful about Angel Clare that all of the milk maids should be in love with him.  So I will suspend judgment about the casting of this role until I see the rest of the movie.

 

I loved all three of the milk maids, they were wonderfully cast, very believeable and each had her unique personality. 

 

I also was very pleased with the casting of Angel Clare's father.  He was one of my favorite male characters in the book, the most honest and caring.  I felt he was also portrayed that way in the movie.

 

I wasn't crazy about Tess's mother.  I didn't feel she was right physically.  I don't know, something just bothered me about her.

 

I guess that's all I can remember right now.