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Tenant of Wildfell Hall [VHS]
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Product Description

The BBC adaptation of Anne Bronte's moral tale The Tenant of Wildfell Hall will be a delight to those who revel in classics brought to the screen. Tara Fitzgerald stars as Helen Graham, a secretive woman who seeks independence for herself and her son from her cruel husband, Arthur Huntingdon. Huntingdon, a rake taken with women and drink, is played to perfection by Rupert Graves, believable as both the young lover who seduces Helen and as the depraved and brutish man he becomes. Toby Stephens is Gilbert Markham, the suspicious yet adoring yeoman farmer smitten with the supposed widow. The scenery and costumes of this period piece are lush, although the use of flashback as a narrative device is at times jarring. This tale is darker than the Jane Austen adaptations that BBC audiences are used to, yet the two-part film has an ending satisfying enough for even the most cynical of romantics. --Jenny Brown

Customer Reviews:

  • Ends Well
    I enjoyed it, I didn't care for the sort of sexual overtones and some physical abuse. I think overall it was well done. Her husband the part was acted so well, I found myself saying How could that guy be so horrid? That's good acting when they get you to enter in the story....more info
  • The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall Should Be On DVD!
    I didn't read the book so I can't say how faithful this is to the book but I did see this movie that starred Tara Fitzgerald and Rupert Graves and I loved it! It is definitely one of the best British period piece costume movies I have ever seen and I think it should be put on DVD! This definitely gets my vote for a DVD release!...more info
  • Stunning Adaptation
    The film version of the book by Anne Bronte was superbly done. The two video set accurately sets down the often-overlooked literary work with all the tension, suspense, and beauty of the the written story.

    The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall finds herself the love-object of the communities young buck, Gilbert. Through their love story, the poor young woman's story unfolds to Gilbert. In the end, the past comes back to haunt her, and Gilbert must chase his lady love back to her wealthy family. A moment of truth between them hapens when he meets her carriage at the gate. Will she marry him?

    It is profoundly interesting. Quite innovative storytelling in book form very pleasantly translated to the screen....more info

  • disappointing
    I found this movie "underwhelming" to say the least. The story was not well developed- it's going in the rummage sale box. ...more info
  • Branwell couldn't have been THIS bad.
    Branwell couldn't have been THIS bad.

    In studying the Bronte sisters I find it universally accepted that any male bad-behavior demonstrated in their writings was based upon their experience with brother Branwell's decline and fall due to drink and drugs (opium/laudanum (noun circa 1603
    any of various formerly used preparations of opium)). In 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall', his sister Anne has penned what has been called a ..."response to Emily's Wuthering Heights" showing, I suppose, the proper reaction to such bad behavior as exhibited by Heathcliff. In 'Tenant', Anne's heroine flees in horror and hides out, attempting to support herself and raise her son away from the monster she married. In this terrific production I felt there might have been some censoring of his bad acts but as I have not yet read Anne's novel I cannot be sure. It did raise some questions for me though. There is some dispute about the cause of Branwell's disgrace. Was he dismissed from Thorp Green for seducing his student's mother, as Gaskell believes? Or did he attempt to seduce (or even succeed in seducing) his student, the young boy he was tutoring? Or, as 'Tenant' suggests to me, did he seduce the boy into use of drink and/or drugs. I think this last guess to be the most likely and in viewing this production you may come to agree. Anne was there when he was disgraced. She must have heard all of what he'd done, though she would breathe no word of it. And all she would say was that it was "..undreamed of experience" of life.
    ...more info
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
    I greatly enjoy BBC movies of the classics, and this did not disappoint. You do want to make the time to watch, or you could find yourself getting lost by splitting your attention. Give yourself an afternoon or evening and enjoy. ...more info
  • Great story, not quite true to the book.
    I Read this Bronte novel 1st and then found the movie. Actually, I found Toby Stephens and knew I had to have to movie! He is an excellent Gilbert! And, it's one of his movies easily available in the states with a happy ending. (Hope I didn't give it away, but that only means he's still alive at the end!)

    There are a few scenes in the movie version that are out of order and change the meaning from the book. I understand that to make a good movie, some creative license must be allowed. Over all a great romance. You always know who you're rooting for. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Put on DVD, please!
    This accurate and wonderfully done version of the Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte (the often forgotten Bronte sister) is long overdue to be put out on DVD. It has been available in England for a few years, now. It is time to get more of those BBC classics onto DVD for us American PBS enthusiasts who get a glimpse of these wonderful productions and then they are gone! And while you are at it, please also put The Mill on the Floss and Far from the Madding Crowd on DVD. They all came out around the same time-late 90's-and were all excellent period productions and being quite true to the novels....more info
  • an excellent, mesmerizing production
    This production is an excellent adaptation of Anne Bronte's second novel, which I have just finished reading after watching this BBC adaptation first. True, changes were made from the original plot to adapt it to screen; but those changes do not inherently alter the plot and/or spirit of the work - those changes primarily consist of some added scenes that are implied rather than described, and also a changing of Helen returning to Wildfell Hall after Arthur Huntingdon's death rather than Gilbert going to seek her at her uncle's house. And some lessening of some of the subplots and dialogue. On the whole however, all the performances are excellent and each actor played the part as described by Bronte to perfection. Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald are truly excellent as Gilbert and Helen Huntingdon/"Mrs. Graham" - the Tenant of Wildfell - who has escaped her debauched, abusive husband to try and rear her son away from the contaminating influence of his father. BUT the performance that stands far and away above the others is Rupert Graves as Huntingdon - while the others are excellent - his is something like a volcano erupting on the screen. I have NEVER seen such an amazing acting performance in my entire life by ANYONE as his performance as Huntingdon. He plays Huntingdon's sociopathic reactive attachment disordered personality to perfection!!!! I was completely amazed and blown away by it and thought about it for many days afterward. If this had been a feature film he should have easily been nominated and won an Oscar for this performance - truly incredible. I've seen him in other performances but this one will be forever etched on my mind. ...more info
  • More bleakness please
    The best thing about this version of Tenant is that it mercifully cuts out a lot of Anne Bronte's prose -- the original story concept is brilliant, but on re-reading the book (after seeing the DVD) I was reminded of how second-rate much of the writing is, and how poor the secondary plots are (though I am a worshipper of Anne Bronte regardless). What the DVD misses is the bleakness and the loneliness and mysteriousness of Helen's situation on her own -- a single woman on her own was desperately threatening in those days -- everything in this film is busy all the time. One longs for just a minute or two of stillness -- but you can't do that on TV these days. The chattering and swooping just cuts into the moodiness that the book, with all its overdoneness, still evokes. The part of Gilbert is hell to do, and I found Stephens boring, but Gilbert is pretty boring all round. Rupert Graves was excellent: you could just see how impossible it was to leave him, and how prissy Helen could be. Another thing you can't do much of these days is religion, but her struggle with Huntington over his soul was, for Anne, probably the most important part of the book -- and needed to be emphasized more. My only strong reservation about Tara Fitzgerald was her pulledback hairdo. I appreciate the symbolism, but it is really too unflattering to look at for two hours. ...more info
  • One of my favorites
    I enjoyed this BBC series (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall). I wanted to see more of Toby Stephens' work after being blown away by his performance as Edward Rochester in the BBC's 2006 version of "Jane Eyre". I checked out the video cassette from my public library several times before the DVD became available earlier this year.

    Since seeing the series I've read the book by Anne Bronte several times. The deviations from the book don't bother me that much - I feel the series is true to the spirit of the book that Anne Bronte wrote. The cast was excellent. I particularly enjoyed Gilbert Markham's interactions with his mother and sister. The series gradually reveals, through flashbacks, the background of the mysterious and severe Mrs. Graham. I first saw Rupert Graves in "The Forsyte Saga" and enjoyed his performance so much. Here, he's a completely different kind of character - self-centered and manipulative. It is only as a last resort that Helen leaves Huntingdon - she does her best to be a good wife to him in the manner of the time.

    There's great chemistry between Stephens and Fitzgerald. Helen's and Gilbert's admiration and attraction for one another grows subtly as the story unfolds. Their friendship and quiet enjoyment of one another in the bleak landscape is so appealing. Gilbert befriends Mrs. Graham even as the suspicious townsfolk begin to turn against her, and it's this unwavering (mostly!) support that makes Gilbert so admirable. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and the story. ...more info
  • A Dark tale Superbly produced
    As a fan of British period films - I expected this Anne Bronte film to be whimsical like many BBC productions - but was pleasantly surprised at the haunting darkness of the story.

    The lead female, played by Tara Fitzgerald, is almost repulsive in her abrasive and aloof character at first... but then as you discover her story, you are heartened by her strength and courage.
    Rupert Graves is convincingly detestable in his role as the lover, turned abusive and monstrous husband. He plays the role to the tee, and adds (in the disturbing flashback scenes) an almost creepy edge to the film. The fact that these flashbacks involve a child that Fitzgerald is protecting, makes them all the more unnerving.

    I found the film to be engrossing - You cringe to watch the deplorable abuses and yet yearn to discover how things happened and where they will end. You view from several vantage points, the misconceptions of relationships - and how differently people define "the benefits of marriage."

    Excellently acted, not outdone by scenery and costuming, but wonderfully produced from start to finish. Although definitely a darker film, this is a British period peice worth watching!
    ...more info
  • A bit dark for me
    Although I've never considered the book particularly dark,at times situations are bleak while character is being built and challenges overcome. Here in the movie version of the tale,however,there seems to be a focus on all the dark challenges while minoring on the beautiful character outcomes that grow from making honorable choices. Too bad. The actors and sets are great. ...more info
  • A good adaptation.
    If you are a fan of the gentlile Austen productions then this may not be your cup of tea, the Bronte novels were always grittier and harsher, speaking of struggle and cruelty towards women of the time. This is not exactly a faithful representation, modern audience pleasing devices are used to give the story a hook. Sometimes this is necessary with Victorian novel adaptaions as issues which where then shocking now barely raise an eyebrow, but I think not so with Bronte work, the gritty realism of times past in their novels is actually more shocking now for it's utter cruelty. For my money, adding modern twists for hook value cheapens the work.
    Nonetheless, Graves is excellent and steals the show, Stevens is perfect as the romantic hereo but Fitzgerald is just a little too harsh, cold and unconvinsing. I had little connection, empathy nor sympathy with her characterisation and yet read the novel and the opposite happens, it strikes me she is trying to inject too much of the modern woman into the role which takes a whole dimension away from the character and robs the story.
    Still, worth a shot if only for the male leads....more info
  • Dark but Enjoyable!
    I saw this on masterpiece theater and immediately bought the book. Anne Bronte' was a woman before her time. She was outspoken at a time when women were always to be quiet and dutiful no matter what their circumstances.

    The video keeps to the meat of the story which is dark and mysterious. The casting was top notch and the scene locations were wonderful as expected with a BBC production. The video and the book are must for any media collection....more info
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
    Excellent acting by everyone here, but Toby Stevens is Hot! Hot! Hot!...more info
    If you are a true Bronte fan. You will not want to watch this movie. I checked it out at my local library expecting something on the lines of Sense and Sensibility and soon discovered that the producers must have lost all sense during the production of this movie. What were they thinking?!! This is not Ann Bronte, it's a producer/director using the name of a book and writing his own story! I couldn't even finish the movie, it was too awful, the flashbacks were bizarre, and finally when it shows her with her "husband" "romancing" it was too much for this Victorian. After a while you began to count the minutes in between the conversation and people walking around on the screen looking bored! BBC should try reading the books first, that way they can end up with widows, not prostitutes as the heriones of their next movie....more info
  • One of the best
    I love period piece classics and this is by far one of my favorites. I have read the book and though there are several differences, by whole the movie brought the book to life in a wonderful way. I rate a movie how it draws you in, and this one had me hooked right away....more info
  • A classic novel comes to life
    In a lot of these 19th century romantic novels they talk about out on the moores (as a symbol desolation?). Here I got to see that in the movie.
    The plight of women and underage children in 19th century England
    was bad in terms of common laws rights. A bad or abusive marriage can ruin a woman's life when she can't legally escape the more powerful husband.
    Escape means living under another name and hiding.
    The husband has no conscience and has no guilt as he kidnaps her son.
    Forced to live with her attractive beast of an husband, in the end love triumphs beyond all odds.
    ...more info
  • 5 stars for....
    getting my wife out of my hair by watching this. From a guy's perspective, this stuff is as boring as watching grass grow... in fact, I'd rather sit and watch grass grow than watch this! Only good to send men to sleep in a hurry :)...more info
  • A lamb amongst the lions....
    I almost gave up on this BBC drama. It started out slow, Mrs. Graham (Fitzgerald) appeared to be an unsympathetic character with a prickly attitude who is not only a loner but also ridiculously overprotective of her son. It was hard to watch Fitzgerald in any scene-her actions were so overly dramatic it seemed the actress didn't try to make Mrs. Graham feminine or even likable--that is, until we're allowed to read her journal. What follows is a three-part series, chronicling Mrs. Graham's horrible sham of a marriage to an alcoholic misogynist expertly played by Rupert Graves. Without giving away too much of the plot, each scene intensifies the brutality of Graham's marriage: the verbal abuse, marital rape, and adultery she experiences allthewhile trying to shield her son from his fathers' sadistic behavior. It's a disturbing story about domestic violence but also the strength of virtue. ...more info
  • Victorian Pleasure
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was first-rate in content, presentation, cast and the gorgeous scenery. The quality of the DVD was excellent and I am so proud to add it to my growing library of classics. I am completely besotted with the handsome and magnetic Toby Stephens and hope that others who have the power to cast him will do so with dispatch for his talent is stellar. Even after having read these wonderful books, to have them interpreted in such a glorious manner is enlightening and endearing. info