Films and DVDs

Each of the film versions has its enthusiasts and its detractors. Suitable landscapes have not been hard to come by, but the character of Alec has proved sometimes a little problematic.

Tess: the Oscar-winning film version directed by Roman Polanski in 1979. He cast a youthful German actress Natassja Kinski as Tess. She brought out both Tess's naivety and her physicality, though not with a West Country accent. Peter Firth played Angel and Leigh Lawson a suitably villainous Alec. The film was set in Brittany, a geographically similar area to Dorset.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles: the 1998 television mini-series made for the American TV channel A & E had Justine Waddell as Tess, and was directed by Ian Sharp. Jason Flemyng was a dandyish if not very evil Alec, and Oliver Milburn played Angel.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles: a second television mini-series was made for BBC in 2008 by David Blair. Gemma Arterton played an intelligent Tess. Eddie Redmayne as Angel and Hans Matheson as Alec were perhaps too similarly cast for dramatic contrasts to be made. The opening club walking scene is disconcertingly set on a cliff top.

Tess: the Musical: the play was actually dramatised during Hardy's lifetime and he was involved in a production in Dorchester. Annie Pasqua has carried on this dramatic tradition with a rock musical, in which Tess is sung by Jenna Pasqua.

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