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Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Return of the Native


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Product Details

  • Actors: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Clive Owen, Ray Stevenson, Steven Mackintosh, Claire Skinner
  • Directors: Jack Gold
  • Writers: Robert W. Lenski, Thomas Hardy
  • Producers: Brent Shields, Craig Anderson, David Ball, Nick Gillott, Richard Welsh
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Hallmark
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000639G5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,650 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Return of the Native" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The breathtaking English countryside sets the stage for a spellbinding triangle of love, desire and destiny in Thomas Hardy's timeless romantic classic about an ambitious beauty and the two men who will sacrifice everything to claim her. Eustacia Vye hates the rural home she shares with her grandfather and dreams of the day she can escape "this graveyard of a heath." The peasants call her a witch, for she enchants every man she meets...including her handsome suitor Damon Wildeve, who has promised to marry another. But when a well-to-do young man returns home from Paris, she sends Wildeve back to his fiancee, and uses all her seductive powers to win Clym Yeobright's heart. Soon Eustacia is making wedding plans of her own, but unknown to her, Clym has decided to stay in the country. Now their footsteps are set upon a road that will lead them from the height of romantic passion to the crossroads of temptation and tragedy in an unforgettable epic masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Hikari on November 29, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This early vehicle for a young Catherine Zeta-Jones does justice to the complex Hardy novel despite the constraints of the television movie format. 'La Zeta' is perfectly cast as Eustacia Vye, a mysterious beauty with 'black hair and pagan eyes' who captivates the young men of the vicinity while the older country people regard her with suspicion as a witch who is not to be trusted. Eustacia has a reputation as a loose woman in the neighborhood--she dallies with another woman's fiance out of sheer boredom, even though she is tired of him. When dashing Clym Yeobright returns home after many years abroad in Paris, Eustacia sets her cap for him, with tragic results.
Fans who have followed Zeta-Jones' high-profile career in movies such as 'Entrapment', 'Traffic' & 'Chicago' will be interested to see her here, long before Michael Douglas and Oscar came calling, in her debut role outside of her native UK. She displays all the beauty and cool self-possession of the star she would later become. She's had her teeth capped since, and been otherwise glammed up, Hollywood-style, but all the fundamentals are there. The setting is breathtaking (shot on location in Northern England), and the simple yet vivid costumes Eustacia wears add to her characterization. Eustacia/Catherine is dressed simply but vividly in tones of scarlet, yellow and turquoise blue, setting her in sharp relief to the browns and grays of the landscape, and the dull clothes worn by the other characters.
The entire cast does a superb job, but this is really Zeta-Jones' show. Whether you're a Zeta fan, or a student of Thomas Hardy, this production should be on your shelf.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By W. Drake on June 15, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Every English major learns never to compare a book to a movie.They are not the same vehicle.If you love period movies, this made for TV version is thoroughly engaging and compelling.Catherine Zeta Jones's performance is complex and astonishingly bewitching.She was an extraordinarily talented actress for such a young age.The supporting actors are all terrific,especially Clyve's mother.The cinematography of the moors is errie and mysterious,mirroring the the feeling of entrapment and isolation that Eustacia feels in her soul.Eustacia's plight-which choice to make-is one which women struggle with and can identify with today.The plot is a tragedy to be certain,yet keeps one wondering how our own choices in life have affected our life's course.....would it have been differing IF??I would not have missed watching this movie am thrilled to have it in my collection.We watch it over and over again.Better than most period movies.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laura Knight-Jadczyk on March 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unlike the previous reviewer, I really liked this movie. It was a fascinating psychological study whether or not it was faithful to the book. Really, if you have read any of Thomas Hardy's books, you know that it would be impossible to turn any of them - even short ones like Jude the Obscure - into a movie shorter than 6 hours without having to sacrifice something! And who could stand that much suffering???

I admit that I'm particular to Catherine Zeta-Jones as she looks a lot like one of my daughters, and I think she did a fine job in this movie silently conveying inner passion and frustrated dreams. She is hypnotic and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Admittedly, Ray Stevenson was rather light and played his part like a kid playing at being an actor, but he was pretty much ignorable next to Catherine and Joan Plowright as his mother, and Steven Mackintosh as Diggory. In fact, Diggory comes across as the wisest and most stable person in the story.

In spite of the fact that it was made for TV, it was well-done and the scenery was beautiful. I've watched it twice with my children and used it as a jumping off point to discuss life and they enjoyed the movie and the discussion after!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By book yeti on July 30, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A script that even an all-star cast couldn't salvage...
Thomas Hardy being a favorite author, I believe that this masterpiece of a classic deserved so much better than this poorly-acted and presented piece that resembled nothing more than a day-time soap opera.

Nothing more than eye candy (the beautiful landscape coupled with Clive Owen and Catherine Zeta-Zones as a striking pair), the adaptation was mediocre at best, and quite honestly painful to watch in some scenes. Any hope of improvement as the film continued was abandoned as the final credits rolled.

Do yourself a favor and give "Return of the Native" a miss. Better yet, check out more faithful and worthy Hardy adaptations by the peerless BBC, such as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", "The Mayor of Casterbridge", and "Far From the Madding Crowd" (a particular favorite) - all amazing films that I can say enough about.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on October 16, 2011
Format: VHS Tape
The story opens in southwestern England, in the year 1842. Clym Yeobright, a successful businessman, has just returned to his beloved heath after some years in Paris. He meets beautiful Eustacia Vye, the local vixen and tease, believed by many to be a witch, so powerful is her hold over men. Eustacia dreams of escaping the dull moor and sees in Clym a way to finally make it to the bright lights of Paris. Clym, however, wants to live out his days as a humble schoolmaster on the heath with his beloved Eustacia.

It's no wonder Thomas Hardy's novel is a classic and this TV-movie does it justice. The acting is uniformly excellent, the location is, in turns, bleak and wonderful, the sorrowful mood is enhanced by a plaintiff folk score, and the literate script stays close to the book. The hypnotically beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones captures Eustacia's willfulness and pride and is perfect in the role. Clive Owen plays Damon Wildeve, a local man who lusts after the elusive Eustacia. He's very good, as is Ray Stevenson, the 'native' blinded by Eustacia's charms. Together, they form a powerful and tragic love triangle. Recommended.
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