The BBC dramatization of Honoré de Balzacs novel about the fury of a woman scorned
In this acclaimed drama seen on Masterpiece Theatre in the 1970s, Margaret Tyzack (The Forsyte Saga) stars as Balzacs furious spinster with Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) as the beautiful young siren who helps her lure men to their ruin.
Born plain and poor, Bette Fischer endures her lot, until her wealthy cousins family steals her only treasurethe young sculptor she has taken under her wing. Joining forces with the ambitious, greedy, and alluring Valerie Marneffe, Bette vows to have her revenge and sets out to ruin the family by exploiting the sexual appetites of the men and the naiveté of the women.
Also starring Colin Baker (Doctor Who), Thorley Walters (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), and Ursula Howells (The Cazalets).
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE bio of Honoré de Balzac and cast filmographies.
Helen Mirren's career may have reached a late peak with her acclaimed performance in The Queen
, but her talent flourished just as powerfully in the 1971 British mini-series of Honore de Balzac's classic novel of revenge, Cousin Bette
. When Bette (Margaret Tyzack, I, Claudius
), the poor cousin of a wealthy family, finds her one passion betrayed by her relatives, she seeks a fierce and relentless revenge. Her instrument is the young and luscious Valerie (Mirren, Prime Suspect
, Gosford Park
), whose seductive ways bring the family to ruin. Both Mirren and Tyzack are phenomenal as the scheming pair, but fans of Mirren will particularly delight in her astonishing coifs, ample cleavage, and smoldering looks--Cousin Bette
came during the height of Mirren's days as the sexpot of Stratford. The first episode (of five) lumbers as it lays out exposition, but with its second episode Cousin Bette
plunges headlong into the dark side of human nature, the sinuous story full of dark humor, cunning twists, and truly ferocious performances. The British excel at literary adaptations and this is one of the juiciest. A must-see mini-series. --Bret Fetzer