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Criterion Collection: Tess [Blu-ray]

John Collin , Tony Church , Roman Polanski    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Criterion Collection: Tess [Blu-ray] + Criterion Collection: King of the Hill [Blu-ray] + Fantastic Mr. Fox [Blu-ray]
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Product Description

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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 then caught in a marriage where her initial happiness soon turns to grief. Fans of the novel may feel unpersuaded by Polanski's effort to marry Hardy's Dorset vision with his own fascination with psychosexual impulses toward survival, but the film is an often stunning thing to see, and Kinski's sensitive, intelligent performance lingers in the memory. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Roman Polanski, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray Once Upon a Time . . . “Tess,” a 2006 documentary on the film Three programs on the making of the film—From Novel to Screen, Filming “Tess,” and “Tess”: The Experience— featuring interviews with Polanski, actors Nastassja Kinski and Leigh Lawson, producer Claude Berri, costume designer Anthony Powell, composer Philippe Sarde, and others Interview with Polanski from a 1979 episode of The South Bank Show Forty-five-minute documentary shot on location for French television during the making of the film Trailer, PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Colin MacCabe


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loyal to the novel (for the most part) Oct. 29 2003
By MikeY
Format:VHS Tape
Warning: Spoilers.
The one major complaint I have about this movie is its tendency to drag on. Many scenes were slow-as-life, showing Tess walking through a field or thoughtfully gazing off into space. Although I felt that the film was moving unnecessarily slow, I was certainly never bored. My attention was kept, I believe, by the fact that I had read Hardy´¿s novel prior to watching the movie. For the most part, Polanski stayed true to Hardy´¿s story and intentions with the exception of two major themes. First, I felt that Polanski didn´¿t make it clear that Tess felt an extreme responsibility to work for her family as a result of her accident that killed their horse, Prince. The fact that they had lost their horse was mentioned in the film, but I felt that an integral reason for Tess´¿s leaving home to work for the D´¿Urbervilles was because she felt responsible for her family´¿s financial woes. The second major departure from the book was the fact that Tess submitted to Alec in the woods. Hardy made it abundantly clear that Tess was disgusted with the man. In the film, Tess willingly kissed Alec back for a long while before he took advantage of her, thus leading to her misfortune throughout the rest of the story.
As a high school student, I realize that many students watch the film versions of novels before writing a paper. I must strongly recommend against this. While the film follows the plot of the novel almost exactly, there are many elements presented in the book that even the most masterful filmmaker could not be able to incorporate, such as Tess´¿s helplessness, Angel´¿s self-confidence, and Alec´¿s wild lust. All of these characteristics are magnified much greater in the novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hardy onto Film Nov. 4 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This film was an extraordinary adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles onto film. Roman Polanski took great pains, I'm sure, in keeping the integrity of Hardy's novel when writing/directing the screenplay. The thing that fascinated me most was the fact that the film was completely true to the book. Not a single detail was altered in the screenplay. I truly admire Polanski's ambition in keeping the movie so similar to the book. But, I feel that the movie itself is a bit cumbersome. The movie is 190 minutes in length! I appreciate the fact that Hardy's ideas weren't tampered with, but as a viewer, it is difficult to watch the entire film. I was forced to watch the film in increments because of its sheer length, but I would suggest watching the film in one sitting, so that the momentum of plot isn't lost.
Nastassja Kinski was an incredible asset to the film. Her acting was superb. Her appearance is so intense and her voice is clear; she is very easy to focus on. When I read the novel, I felt differently about Tess than when I watched Kinski play Tess. My original impression of Tess after reading the novel was that she was meek and submissive. I felt her family, Alec, and Angel easily controlled her. Kinski brought to the role an element of independence and determination that I didn't pick up on in the novel. Kinski portrayed the character Tess with such conviction and artistry. She had a fiery spirit and made Tess seem much more capable than the Tess I had picked up on in the novel. Kinski's Tess was very abrupt with Alec when he came onto her. She was also short with Angel when he came back from Brazil and wanted to be her husband again. Although the content of the plot is the same in the book, I felt that Kinski really made Tess's spirit come alive.
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By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I have seen this movie when it came out. I have seen it several times since then. I hadn't watched it for many years now because I knew that it could happen to anyone even more so today. I went into a trend of watching only "upbeat" movies. I now, with age, realized that this is an UPBEAT movie if you watch it with wisdom and not with snob. If you are arrogant enough to think that Polanski just shoots films that reminds him of Tate and Manson then you don't know enough about Polanski or just don't want to accept that "things" can get so wrong that you don't prepare for it with humor, passion, and love for yourself and others. In every homeless person's life there is a Tess story. If you wish to think in religious terms this is the Story of Job. Anybody is just an illness, a disaster away from Tess: Once it happens you will see how dignity is the only way out BUT you must get on your feet again BEFORE society chastises you as a bum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant Polanski film Oct. 22 2003
Format:VHS Tape
one of my favorites of both Polanski and Kinski. this one has Kinski as a farm girl who gets into a marriage that she regrets. with this movie it brings the depth and emotionally powerful performance that lingers from Kinski and you dont wanna forget it, I havent. its a really good movie
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