We have loved the works of Wilkie Collins ever since we discovered him years ago. We were excited when we found out that PBS Distribution will release the DVD The Woman in White, based on his 19th century mystery novel , on November 6. This five-part screen adaptation brings to life the secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and asylums, that made this mystery thriller an instant success when it was published in 1868.
The program begins when Walter Hartright (played by Ben Hardy), a young drawing master, encounters a spectral woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road on Hampstead Heath. After offering his assistance to the strange woman, he is shocked to discover that she has just escaped from a nearby insane asylum. The encounter draws him into a web of mystery and deception that transforms his life forever.
Shortly afterwards, Walter takes up a teaching position in the Cumbrian village of Limmeridge. There, he meets his pupils-–the clever, bold Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley), and the beautiful, sweet-natured Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall). Walter notices that Laura bears an uncanny resemblance to the mysterious woman in white, who was known to the household as Anne Catherick (also Olivia Vinall): a mentally disabled child who grew up in the village. Over the next few months, Walter and Laura fall deeply in love. However, she is promised in marriage to Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott), a charming local Baronet with a secret he will do anything to protect.
Soon after the wedding, Glyde’s true cruel nature begins to emerge. Conspiring with his companion, the compelling and Machiavellian Count Fosco, he enacts a terrible plan to access his new wife’s considerable fortune. Marian and Walter toil to rescue Laura and expose the unscrupulous, scheming masterminds and their twisted conspiracy.
FYI: For those who have npot heard of Collins, look him up. His books are public domain. The Woman in White is widely considered to be among the first mystery novels; written in 1859, it was considered a commercial success and cultural sensation at the time.