Tess

This multiple-Oscar-winning film by Roman Polanski is an exquisite, richly layered adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. A strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski, in a gorgeous breakthrough) is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This fateful visit commences an epic narrative of sex, class, betrayal, and revenge, which Polanski unfolds with deliberation and finesse. With its earthy visual textures, achieved by two world-class cinematographers—Geoffrey Unsworth (Cabaret and Ghislain Cloquet (Au hasard Balthazar)—Tess is a work of great pastoral beauty as well as vivid storytelling.

Film Info

  • Roman Polanski
  • United Kingdom
  • 1979
  • 171 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • English
  • Spine #697

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • 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 about 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: An essay by critic Colin MacCabe

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • 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 about 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: An essay by critic Colin MacCabe

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Tess
Cast
Nastassja Kinski
Tess Durbeyfield
Peter Firth
Angel Clare
Leigh Lawson
Alec d’Urberville
John Collin
John Durbeyfield
Rosemary Martin
Joan Durbeyfield
Carolyn Pickles
Marian
Richard Pearson
Vicar of Marlott
David Markham
Reverend Mr. Clare
Pascale de Boysson
Mrs. Clare
Caroline Embling
Retty
Suzanna Hamilton
Izz
Sylvia Coleridge
Mrs. d’Urberville
Tony Church
Parson Tringham
Lesley Dunlop
Girl in henhouse
Fred Bryant
Dairyman Crick
Dicken Ashworth
Farmer Groby
Patsy Smart
Housekeeper
John Barrett
Old dairy hand
Patsy Rowlands
Landlady
Credits
Director
Roman Polanski
Executive producer
Pierre Grunstein
Producer
Claude Berri
Coproducer
Timothy Burrill
Associate producer
Jean-Pierre Rassam
Screenplay
Gérard Brach
Screenplay
Roman Polanski
Screenplay
John Brownjohn
Based on the novel by
Thomas Hardy
Music
Philippe Sarde
Cinematography
Geoffrey Unsworth
Cinematography
Ghislain Cloquet
Film editing
Alastair McIntyre
Film editing
Tom Priestley
Production design
Pierre Guffroy
Costumes
Anthony Powell
Casting
Mary Selway
Production manager
Paul Maigret

From The Current

The Cinematography of Tess
The Truest Tess
The Truest Tess

Roman Polanski’s film is a highly sophisticated adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, in both its faithfulness and its divergences.

By Colin MacCabe

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