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  • PG
  • Drama, Romance
  • 1979
  • 170 mins




Fine but slightly un-British feeling adaptation of Hardy's novel from Roman Polanski. Natassja Kinski stars as the ill-fated country girl


There are quite a few things wrong with this attractive but rather shallow adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel, 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', the third screen version.

Although Kinski's beauty is exquisitely framed and she copes well with the characterization of the innocent country girl corrupted and discarded by polite society, her slightly German-accented English is disconcerting.

So, too, is the background as it was shot in Normandy rather than Dorset because of the extradition treaty between Britain and the USA, where Polanski was wanted on a morals charge. Still, the film won Oscars for Cinematography, Costume Design and Art Direction.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: David Markham, Rosemary Martin, Peter Firth, Nastassja Kinski, John Collin, Leigh Lawson
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Screen Writer: Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski, John Brownjohn
  • Writer (Book): Thomas Hardy
  • Producer: Claude Berri
  • Photographer: Geoffrey Unsworth, Ghislain Cloquet
  • Composer: Philippe Sarde

In a nutshell

Not a high point in Polanski's career but not without its merits.

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