The Woman in White (DVD)
Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White, was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and is considered one of the first writers of detective mysteries and sensational novels--this story being one of the most notable (the other is The Moonstone). This 5-episode miniseries expertly tackled the 656-page novel and kept me on the edge of my seat even more than many a modern thriller.
While it's set in the mid-1800s, which may not be your typical cup of tea, the actors bring their plights vividly to life. The darkness that keeps infringing on the lives of the three main characters--Walter, a young artist, tasked with teaching the two very different half-sisters, Marian (feisty & clever) and Laura (kind dreamer)--makes it all the more choking. Through much of the miniseries, you have no idea what the evil is or whether anything bad is actually happening. Walter, Marian, and Laura gain your sympathy and admiration, but you still question them along with all the other characters. Even though I'd read the book twice before, I still found myself gritting my teeth and clinching my fists as I seethed at several characters. The snapshots of what women in the 19th century had to endure are informative (as well as angering) -- and Marian and Laura, along with several side female characters offer a broader view than sometimes seen from novels of that time.
If you appreciate complex thrillers where every time you think a resolution is near something else goes wrong--this film version of The Woman in White is for you. Just be prepared to watch all five episodes at once, because you may not be able to stop once you start.