Written in 1894, Chopin’s tale explores relationships between the sexes. When Louise Mallard hears that her husband has been killed in a railroad accident, she realises, during the course of the following hour, that she may actually enjoy life alone. A shock revelation, however, brings a bitter twist to the afternoon’s events. In the first sequence Zoe narrates the original story to camera.
The second adaptation dramatises the tale, while the third, a monologue by Louise’s husband, Brently, reveals a few home truths about the couple’s marriage. For the fourth re-telling the plot is more freely adapted, with an alternative ending. Following biographical information about Chopin, the final rendition sees Zoe read the story once again, dressed as the author in period costume.
Produced for The English Programme, Five Stories of an Hour draws out some of the key issues in Chopin’s work for a modern audience.
UK | ITV – Thames (for The English Programme) | 1×50 minutes | Broadcast 1988
Based on the short story ‘The Story of an Hour’, by Kate Chopin; adaptations by Kathleen Potter, David Stafford and Michelene Wandor
Directors: Paul Kafno (stories one, three, five), Greg Lanning (story two) and David Hodgson (story four)
Production Designers: Anne Diamond (stories one, three, five) and Alison Wratten (story four)
Costume Designers: Pam Doolan (stories one, three, four, five) and Fran Bolwell (story two)
Makeup: Angela Seyfang (stories one, three, four, five)
Jilly Bond as Josephine, Louise’s Sister
Julian Gartside as Brently Mallard
ZoÎ Wanamaker as Narrator; Louise Mallard
Christopher Luscombe as Richards
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