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Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The

3.9 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews

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(Apr 15, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The (1996)

Anne Bronte's frank and passionate story of a woman's desperate bid for independence from her brutal husband, in an age when marriage was a woman's only choice - featuring an all-star cast.


Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JOA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,791 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 10, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
While not wholly faithful to Anne Bronte's novel of the same name, this adaptation has much to commend it. Excellent cinematography, as well as strong performances by the entire cast, makes this a must see production for all lovers of period pieces.

An intriguing widow woman of mystery, Helen Graham (Tara Fitzgerald), moves into a crumbling residence known as Wildfell Hall. There, she sets up house with her very young son. Plain spoken, independent, and seeming to lack charm, she rebuffs the initial friendly overtures of the local townsfolk and manages to alienate most of them. Gilbert Markham (Toby Stephens), a young and handsome yeoman farmer, is not put off by her manner, however, and being smitten by her, pursues her, hoping to gain her affections. Soon, however, the townsfolk begin gossiping about her supposed assignations with a wealthy, local gentleman, Mr. Lawrence (James Purefoy), the owner of Wildfell Hall. There comes a point where even the steadfast Mr. Markham wavers in his belief in her. It is then that Mrs. Graham tells him the true nature of her relationship with Mr. Lawrence and reveals her dark past.

Rupert Graves steals the show as Arthur Huntingdon, the charming rake who captures and seduces Helen's young, romantic heart. Once married to her, however, he reveals himself to be a brutish, dissolute, and depraved philanderer, who causes her to flee their home with their young son. The role of Huntingdon is, undoubtedly, the juiciest. The film uses the narrative contrivance of flashbacks in order to explain the events that led Helen to take the extraordinary measures that she did. It tells the viewer of the sad story that brought Helen and her son to this sorry pass.
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Format: VHS Tape
This video (which runs for 160 mins) follows rather closely to the classic novel by Anne Bronte (except for the ending - nevertheless, it will still please you).
The production is lavish, the costumes beautiful and very correct to the period of time. The cast very capably brought to life the characters of the suffering Helen Graham, the scoundrel Arthur Huntington and the love-struck Gilbert Markham.
Tara Fitzgerald appeared a little miscast, owing to her often unnecessarly harsh displays of emotions and an unsuitable gruffy voice. But because she played the role of Helen Graham (who's an exceedingly likable heroine), I grew to ignore all that and found myself rooting for Helen to find all the happiness she deserves.
I simply love Toby Stephens whom I think, is just perfect as Gilbert, the handsome, young gentleman farmer who sees the goodness in Helen and seeks to protect her from the hypocrisy and prejudice shown by his unkind relatives and neighbours.
The cinematography is lush and breathtaking. It's obvious that this is a well-planned production with no expense spared.
I have only 1 minor complaint - that the romantic scenes involving Helen and Gilbert weren't made more passionate (the way it should be). Instead, we see more displays of love and affection between Helen and Lord Huntington (during their courtship days and early marriage). And to what purpose do they serve? - Since we know just what a brute Huntington turns out to be later!
If you love this video, please pick up the book (ie. if you haven't already) - the book fleshes out the thoughts, emotions and agonies of the love-lorn Gilbert much more effectively than could be captured on film.
Nevertheless, I love this video. It's great to have in one's collection for repeated viewings.
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Format: VHS Tape
"The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" is based on the Victorian novel by Anne Bronte. It tells the story of secretive, passionate and outspoken Helen Graham who lives quietly with her young son in Wildfell Hall. She befriends a young neighborhood farmer, Gilbert Markham, and he falls in love with her, despite her objections. It soon unfolds that Helen is "on the run" from her privileged life and her cruel, alcoholic husband - Arthur Huntingdon - and a series of flashbacks tell the story of her life with him. The story itself is engrossing and, like Jane Eyre, it's ultimately a story of a strong woman overcoming the odds and coming out triumphant in the end.
The BBC has done a great job with this production. Tara Fitzgerald ("The Woman in White," "Brassed Off") is perfectly cast as the downtrodden but feisty Helen. Handsome actors Toby Stephens ("The Great Gatsby") and Rupert Graves ("Room with a View," "Mrs. Dalloway") are excellent as the devoted Gilbert and the detestable Huntingdon. Tara Fitzgerald and Toby Stephens have a chemistry that most would find irresistible. The performances from the principal actors are excellent and Rupert Graves does such a good job that I found myself hating and pitying him at the same time. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Bronte's work or first-rate British drama.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Unlike Jane Austen who romanticized the travails her heroines had to endure in order to attain love, social position, and wealth, this engaging adaption of the Anne Bronte classic proves the old adage that one should always be careful of what they wish for. They just might get it.
This film is essentially a moral tale on the dangers of infatuation, the soul killing effect of an abusive and loveless marriage, and the possibility of love refound for a heart zinged once too often.
Tara Fitzgerald gives a performance worthy of any Oscar actress as the lead character Helen Grahm, who in the beginning is fooled into love by a "gentleman" who has everything a woman could look for in a husband. Yet she discovers to her horror her husband is much more than the upstanding lord he makes himself out to be.
As the "upstanding gentelman," Rupert Graves plays a character that could easily have been portrayed as a typical lord/lout found in many novels. His Lord Huntingdon is much more complicated. Truly a man created by an environment of entitlement, wealth, and absolute power bestowed on members of the upper classes. And this film holds no punches to depict how truly awful he and his friends were in their relationships with the fairer sex.
As for Toby Stephens, he is the embodiment of the renewing effects love can have on a person who has suffered so much. His determination to forgo the consequences of befriending Ms. Grahm and assisting her may seem cliched, but Stephen's presents a man who acts not only out of his own personal emotional needs, but a greater indignant reaction to the injustice of the situation of Ms. Grahm.
Wonderful performances, beautiful cinematography, a strong storyline, and timeless characters all add up to provide a romantic, yet realistic film.
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