Roman Polanski has made some masterpieces(Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown)and some bombs(Frantic).  His overlooked film, “TESS” ranks up there with his best work.  Former girlfriend Nastassja Kinski stars as the heroine, and she’s perfect.  She’s not just beautiful, but completely born for this role. She’s completely convincing and her innocence makes her plight all the more tragic.  While there are some saddening liberties taken with the source material, it’s more faithful than most film adaptations of literary masterpieces, and Polanski’s “TESS” is a masterpiece in its own right.

This marks the first-time the film’s correct aspect ratio, 2.35:1, has been available.  Even the laserdisc had been cropped.  Now the incredible cinematography can be fully appreciated.  Enhanced for 16:9 viewing,
colors are rich and often vibrant.  Contrast is decent, although darker scenes lack the detail we’d hoped for. Fleshtones appear natural.

COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix.  Because the film’s soundtrack is 25 years old, the mix has is somewhat limited. Surrounds are often employed, but typically not well-placed. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

COLUMBIA TRISTAR has included a few featurettes. They include interviews and substantial information about the adaptation and production process. Several trailers to other costume dramas are included.