You know how some movies that are made from books make you think, "Wow, they really skipped over a lot of this book!" But then you forgive the film maker because he had time constraints and really it was so beautiful anyway and it evoked all of the emotion of the book, even if it skipped over some scenes?
This movie wasn't like that. The director, working for the visionary and cutting edge Arts and Entertainment channel, put in everything he could find in the book, and possibly more. Every scene change was marked with a schmaltzy swell of orchestral music, thundering through the same part of theme music from the bleak, obvious score. And there were many scenes. The number of scenes was: maximum.
The actor who played Michael Henchard reminded me a lot of Chris Cooper. You know him. He's been in various things as Lt. This and Col. That, most recently in "Breach" as that CIA guy. He has one of those mouths that looks like a gash you cut with a kitchen knife in a spaghetti squash, down on both sides. Know what I mean? No? He also has hooded eyelids which he uses to peer into a middle distance when considering manly things. Yet doesn't look like he's ever had stubble.
The long and short of it was that we couldn't even make it through disc 1. Oops! I think I'll wait until Hollywood turns it into a movie with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth-Jane and they cut out most of it and give it an adult contemporary soundtrack. Then I can bitch with the rest of you that they cut out the scene in the granary, but at least I'll make it to the end of the movie.