Film: 5093

History | 1970 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

A life of Thomas Hardy.
A documentary / drama reconstruction production about the west country novelist and poet 1970's

Hardy sitting at his desk in his study in old age. (played by actor Bartlett Mullins) Change to luxuriously bearded young man (the young Hardy) in moving railway carriage. A voice reads a love poem. Young ladies faces appear in the window of the carriage as he thinks of them. One of the young ladies appears on horseback riding in the countryside. Young Hardy travelling in horse-drawn trap. View of coast in Dorset, waves breaking on the shore. The young man alights from carriage pays the driver and goes to door old country house. Young lady comes to door. Views of countryside and coast line. Idyllic scenes of couple riding horses, walking and picnicking.

Voice reads Hardy's poetry. Middle-aged lady washing in round china washbasin. Touch of the water brings back memories of their earlier days by the river. Hardy sketches scenery and his lady-love. It comes on to, rain, he puts up an umbrella and continues. The girl's name is Emma, she later became Hardy's wife. A narrator (Charles Causley - poet) speaks of the relationship between the two of. She is of the Gifford family. Her father disapproves but they marry. More poetry, actors act out the words. Narrator comments on the fact that the relationship was breaking up. 'This was the seed of 20 poems being sewn'. Picture of their home at Sturminster Newton, Dorset (Max Gate). View of river in the rain. Narrator, Charles Causley appears on screen in similar rural setting. Speaks as how marriage fell apart. Probably because there were no children but does not speculate as to why this was. Picture of older Hardy in the study looking in a mirror. Picture if his books on a bookshelf.. Actors act out the break up of the marriage on location. They develop in different directions. She drives down a country lane in an grand Austin 1920's chauffeur driven motor car. More poetry. View of churchyard and graves. Arrives back at house. Narrator:

They are drifting apart, she is fiercely religious contrasting with Hardy's developing lack of faith. They live ins separate parts of the house. Emma reminisces and there are flashbacks of their earlier relationship. Poetry. Her grave in the local churchyard. Hardy as an old man visits the churchyard and her grave. Walking with a walking stick he returns to Cornwall to, visit their old haunts. Cliffs, sea. Flashbacks. In his mind he sees her again on horseback.
Narrator re-appears in similar surroundings. -


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