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  • tinmanfan15 May 2006
    I'm so happy I recorded this on VHS tape when it was featured on Master Piece Theatre. This is a movie I can watch again and again. Like living in the early 1800's in England isn't hard enough, Prue is born with a "hare lip" and is outcast from birth. The people in her village accept her somewhat but always fear that she is "from the Devil's smithy" and are quick to turn on her. Especially when a lot of bad luck befalls her family. She is strong and courageous but shies away from Kester Woodseaves, a traveling weaver who catches her eye. Partly because she fears rejection and also because she thinks he is so virile that he should have a wife who is as lovely as a lily. Kester is a modern man who does not believe in the superstitions of the time and he speaks his mind and follows his heart. The movie stays true to the original story by Mary Webb and is riveting from beginning to end.
  • When this was first aired on Masterpiece Theatre, it had a profound effect on me. It's beautifully filmed and acted. I immediately read the book by Mary Webb, and it remains one of my all time favorites. Janet McTeer is wonderful as Prue, and I fully expected her to become a regular on the British drama scene. I guess she chose to focus on the British stage instead.

    I was hoping that with the American success of Janet McTeer years later(with Tumbleweeds) this film would again become available to us. Alas, it has not yet been released on DVD. If anyone out there is listening, please make this available again!
  • Cannot believe how long I've searched for information regarding this BBC movie - literally years! PBS, the station that ran this in Chicago, couldn't give me a clue to what happened to it. Mary Webb's book is one of my treasured reads. But I must have this film! Janet McTeer & John Bowe filled me with joy & hope and their characters will be forever indelible in my mind. Please someone out there heed my wish and put this important work on a DVD and make available for romantics such as me. If not, would someone convince the BBC to allow it's presentation to be seen by the American audiences once more. The important social content would be most beneficial for the current generation. Thank you.
  • When Precious Bane aired in America, I was stunned by this beautiful story. All the actors were brilliant; Clive Owen really understood the character he played. I went right away to a bookstore and ordered the original novel, which is even more beautiful, and which went out of print just after I bought the book - although I've seen it online a few times now. I had also hoped with the Oscar won by Janet McTeer and the huge popularity of Clive Owen the BBC would naturally get this fine production on DVD...I cannot believe all these years later we still have no DVD. It has to be the only production ever created by the BBC that is NOT for sale. Come on BBC - you have money to make off us fans here. Get this on DVD please!
  • Just reading the reviews of this wonderful BBC mini series reminded me how much I enjoyed this when it was first broadcast many years ago. At the time I remember waiting with anticipation for the next installment and fell in love with John Bowe and Janet McTeer ,two talented actors that we don't see enough of on TV or cinema these days.

    I have tried without success to obtain several of the BBCs fantastic dramas from the past, including the 1973 version of Jane Eyre and the 1972 version of Anne of Green Gables, all wonderful timeless classic stories, which sadly the BBC seem to have no intention of releasing on video or DVD. If anyone learns otherwise I would love to hear from them.

    In the meantime we will have to content ourselves with our recollections of how wonderful they were.
  • In the early 19th century, a young woman with a harelip falls foul of her family's ambition and the superstitions of the local community, but she meets a man who may see her differently, and just may, change Pru's life forever.

    Precious Bane is a British Broadcasting Corporation adaptation of the highly acclaimed novel by Mary Webb. It's a beautifully filmed piece that is acted to an incredibly high standard, the story {screenplay by Maggie Wadey} is excellent, and the period detail and use of dialect is second to none. It's such a shame that this film has yet to get a DVD release, one would have thought that with Clive Owen's {great here as Gideon} rise to stardom, the BBC would get it out there, but sadly no, so the only way of catching it is on the very rare occasions that TCM shows it. The lead performance from Janet McTeer as Pru Sarn is simply brilliant, guts and genuine emotion go hand in hand as McTeer gives it her all. Pru has to not only contend with her facial disfigurement, but also the constant snides and hurt from the ignorant villagers. This is a time when folk believed that if a Hare ran in front of a pregnant woman it spelt doom, a time of Bull Baiting, a time of superstitions and talk of witches. In spite of constant set backs Pru is strong and resourceful, even her own family knock her dreams back without realising it, but this road may well be a terribly bumpy one, but hope is everlasting, and Pru has hope in abundance.

  • jonjonlynch11 November 2007
    my dog
    hi i am john and i would like to tell you all that my dog was in this film at the baiting screen he was the pit like one, that was going to bite the man chained up. my dogs name was Colin and he stayed away filming for a week for this film. he was also in other things like crime watch uk and some other small parts. he won some dog shows but he has passed away now i miss him he was a great, true and loyal dog and we had some great times together but he got cancer which could not be treated so i had to get him put down that was the worst day of my life i hope this gives you some thing to look for in the film if you watch it again.

    thanks all
  • Having known and loved this book since I was eleven I was terrified to see it coming up as a movie - what if they'd made a dreadful mess of it? In the event I needn't have worried at all. Everyone was very well cast and the acting is terrific, it followed the story very well except for the strange addition of the scene in the prison, which to me added nothing at all. However it really is the most beautiful love story and I'm so glad I videoed it so I can watch it again and again. My only gripe is - why didn't they give Kester a green waistcoat 'which made him such a personable man'? Such a simple thing, when they went to so much trouble for everything else. If you get the chance, see this, it is excellent.
  • I have copied my video of this on to DVD so that I can enjoy it whenever I like and it makes a very successful (and rare) wedding present as well! This is just an absolutely wonderful adaptation of a much loved novel. Everything about it is just perfect and it has aged amazingly well. There is always a chance with something this old that it might appear a bit creaky next to more modern dramas but 'Precious Bane' more than holds its own.

    The quality of the acting is amazing with Janet McTeer making a superlative Prudence and a young Clive Owen stomping around as the taciturn Gideon Sarn.

    I challenge anyone to watch the final sequence without at least sniffling a little at the sheer romance of it all. It is the perfect film to watch when it is cold outside and you are snuggled up on the sofa.

    I really can't recommend this highly enough.
  • genimast14 November 2006
    I'm lucky enough to have a good quality copy of my VHS on DVD so I can now watch this over and over again. The characters are so well played I can't find fault with any aspect of the casting. OK, so there are a few differences from the book, but the old cliché of love conquering all is so powerfully portrayed that it makes no difference. The reality of living in the rural countryside of early 19th century England is beautifully contrasted by the changing seasons, from biting winter to glorious summer days and this is mirrored in the different characters, from Prue's bullying father to Kester's all encompassing love. A story that changed my life.
  • This is a great TV miniseries of a classic novel. Janet McTeer and John Bowe, in the lead roles, are exceptional. This is one of the best adaptations from a book that I have seen. I would LOVE to get a copy of this - let me know if you know how I might get one...Thanks!
  • Mag-1313 December 2001
    I was just bouncing through Janet McTeer's bio after seeing Songcatcher. I remember the first time I ever saw her was as Prue in Precious Bane. I can barely remember the story, but her haunted eyes and cleft lip were unforgettable.

    I remember wondering if she really had a cleft palate; the makeup was done so well.

  • birchley14 November 2009
    Superbly adapted to the screen and extremely faithful to Mary Webb's period novel, this film is a true masterpiece. Aside from the exceptionally talented rising star, Janet Mcteer as the lead and one or two established actors, the film used mostly little known names. Yet the drama was all the more convincing for that. The social and personal tension is almost tangible and I felt as if the cast were reacting each other's character as though they would have done in real life. I saw that one commentator asked if Janet McTeer really had a hare-lip, a testimony to just how good was her characterisation. I saw this on TV when it was first shown, taped it, then later the tape was sadly lost. But it remains clear as anything in my mind. If you have any fondness at all for the social period, it's an absolute must see.
  • beckeis3 August 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was fortunate enough to record this wonderful drama, both parts, when it originally aired on Masterpiece Theatre. I loved it but lost it. Then one day, while going through old tapes, found it again. I recorded it to DVD and watched and --- WOW! I still love it! The leads are excellent and my only complaint is I wish we had seen more Kester! What a man! And Prue. She's so strong and wonderful ... living in a time and age where her affliction and how she deals with it is seen as unfortunate and evil. Even her own brother tells Prue to her face that he doubts that a man will ever have her. *sigh* Unfortunately my copy is not the greatest, with wear and tear over the years, and I too would absolutely love to own this on professional DVD if it ever happens.
  • Please let me know of any versions of Precious Bane or Gone to Earth on video that people may be aware of. I love the books of Mary Webb wholeheartedly and would be very grateful to have any information on either VHS or DVD.

    I've read Precious Bane and Gone to Earth, which are my favorites by Mary Webb, many times, and have collected other novels by her also. I was lucky to have found her "Springs of Joy" poetry and essays, but I've never been able to see the Precious Bane version that was on Masterpiece Theatre, or the full version of Gone to Earth, although there was an American Movie Classic airing of The Wild Heart which was a chopped-up version of Gone to Earth's original film.

    If anyone can assist me in obtaining copies of either or both of these films (full versions), I would be so thankful!
  • As you can see, I loved the book so much I use the title for my internet alias and have for over 15 years. (Okay, so it had to be spelled phonetically to fit the name character limit for the BBS at the time but what could I do?) If anyone every finds this movie, I would absolutely love to see it! Janet McTeer is great in everything else I've seen of hers. I think she would have made a great Prue. And it even features early Clive Owen - from before Chancer (a great series itself). What's not to love? I hope the powers that be wise up and make this available on DVD soon! With some of the true dredge they pout out, it's about time well executed productions make it on the market too.
  • "Precious Bane" is my all time favorite movie as a powerful and beautiful rendition of my all time favorite novel of the same name, by Mary Webb. Every sentence of the novel is savored each time I reread it, just as every scene of the movie captures the rich subtleties of this rare and touching story. It takes place in England around the time of the French Revolution but has little to do with politics of the day, with the possible exception of the price of corn. The story is woven into the English countryside with the sumptuousness of a master weaving a king's tapestry, yet takes place entirely among farm laborers and remote townspeople who have nothing to do with a king. I can never get enough of Pru Sarn's delicious colloquialisms and farm speak, and one would think Janet McTeer's portrayal of Pru inspired Mary Webb's hand when she created her over 60 years previously. John Enery is mysteriously likable as the Wizard Beguildy, and Clive Owen and John Bowe are powerful and magnetic. Please, PLEASE release a DVD of "Precious Bane" so that we can once again luxuriate in this timeless masterpiece!
  • Hi I am using this review as a platform to plead to the BBC to release this film as a DVD. Surely the Beeb would release a film universally recognised as a film of unusual distinction. Please BBC if you are out there, listen to your viewers or at least have a sharing, caring heart and let us share in the treasures in your vaults.

    If anyone knows where I can get a copy I would be most grateful.

    More than a brilliant film, the film forms part of my memories of my deceased wife, who loved the film dearly. We lived in the English countryside and sat watching the drama in an old school house we were converting to a home; the winter weather all around.

    Unfortunately she died from cancer not long after and I would dearly like to see, or own a copy if there is one to have. I would also like to show the film to our daughters, who are now grown up but were very young at the time.

    Appreciate anybodies help, thank you.
  • please why not put this fantastic film on DVD,i have been searching just like the previous writer for years, whats the hold up, or show it on TV. its so underestimated its one of the most romantic and beautifully written books i have ever read, and believe i have read some.I seem to think it was read on radio 4, but i can't find that either. Why not try and remake it even, i promise it will be top earner, people love those sorts of stories, So please either release it and take us out of our misery or remake it,although i doubt if it could be improved upon. Has any one read gone to earth by the same author or seen the film with Jennifer Jones, this is superb, but not to the same extent may be.
  • For two decades, I have searched far and wide for this mini series and was unable to locate a copy, the DVD, or a clip.

    If anyone knows where I can obtain a copy or is able to download clips of the movie on or other websites, please pass the information to others like myself.

    Every time I watch Janet McTeer (she's in a mini called "Five Days"), I always recall my first McTeer sighting in "Precious Bane," and I would like to have the opportunity to enjoy her in that movie again. Thank you.

    Also, if anyone has a copy of "Mother Love" starring Diane Rigg, please pass along the information. Thank you in advance.
  • I LOVED this program, and for years searched for it on video. I've contacted a great many folks in my attempts to get a no avail.

    I DO, however, have the second half of the program. I would be willing to share MY half, with anyone who can give me a copy of the FIRST half of this show. I'd offer to provide copies of what I have to anyone, BUT it's just only part of the it's just not an adequate representation of the show.

    There are a few folks selling this on EBAY for some incredible cost (and that's plainly not fair...not to mention blatant copyright violations!).

    Please send any correspondence to: