I have been watching Pride and Prejudice while knitting. This might be my favourite P&P adaptation.
Category Archives: Adaptations
This is the fourth novel of the Austen Project following Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, Northanger Abbey by Val Mc Dermid and Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. I had high hopes for this one – how could I not? Curtis Sittenfeld was the selected author.
Here is the blurb …
From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today
I was concerned to see a quote by Mark Twain at the start – did Ms Sittenfeld not know the antipathy Twain had for Austen?
To me his prose is unreadable — like Jane Austin’s [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.
Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
And then I read the rest and realised Ms Sittenfeld doesn’t like Austen and this is her revenge. I am sure she is laughing at Austen fans all of the way to the bank.
This Lizzie is rude not witty (and doesn’t appear to be overly bright) and the crisis (the equivalent of Lydia running with Wickham) is awful and such a non-crisis. Spoiler alert! I don’t understand how running away with a transgender man called Ham can be at all morally reprehensible. The Lydia in the original would have been cast out of society if Mr Darcy had not intervened. In this one, Mr Darcy reconciles Mrs Bennet to the elopement by describing Ham as having a ‘birth defect’.
More reviews …
Like all of these older adaptations, it is not particularly beautiful, but this one at least has outdoor scenes. It consists of 7 episodes – each 30 minutes long – and it is quite faithful to the novel (they do get rid of Margaret Dashwood).
I thought Irene Richard’s Elinor was great, but Tracy Childs over-enunciated as Marianne (she had obviously had elocution lessons).
Robert Swann was a great Colonel Brandon, but Alan Rickman is always going to be the definitive Colonel Brandon.
This was a good adaptation, but there is better available now. It is probably only for the die-hard Jane Austen fans.
More reviews …
I continue on my Jane Austen Adaptation Festival with the latest (2007) version of Northanger Abbey – I do prefer this one to the 1987 version. First, it has high production values – beautiful to look at, secondly Andrew Davies is the screenwriter and he always manages to be reasonably faithful to the novel, but ramps up the sexual tension a bit (Mr Darcy diving into the lake?).
I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation – even the extra bits added by Andrew Davies – I thought it was well cast (the two leads in particular). It is short (93 minutes), but manages to get across all of the important plot points.
More reviews …
https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/the-three-northanger-abbey-films/ – this one is worth reading!
This is the third in the Austen Project. As Emma is my favourite Austen novel, I had high hopes for this adaptation.
Here is the blurb …
Prepare to meet a young woman who thinks she knows everything.
Fresh from university, Emma Woodhouse arrives home in Norfolk ready to embark on adult life with a splash. Not only has her sister, Isabella, been whisked away on amotorbike to London, but her astute governess, Miss Taylor is at a loose end watching as Mr. Woodhouse worries about his girls. Someone is needed to rule the roost and young Emma is more than happy to oblige.
At the helm of her own dinner parties, and often found either rearranging the furniture at the family home of Hartfield, or instructing her new protégée, Harriet Smith, Emma is in
charge. You don’t have to be in London to go to parties, find amusement or make trouble.
Not if you’re Emma, the very big fish in the rather small pond.
But for someone who knows everything, Emma doesn’t know her own heart. And there is only one person who can play with Emma’s indestructible confidence, her friend and inscrutable neighbour George Knightly – this time has Emma finally met her match?
Ever alive to the social comedy of village life, beloved author Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma is the busybody we all know and love, and a true modern delight.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed. As I wrote in a previous post, it is probably quite difficult to update Austen’s work (although Clueless is a fabulous modern re-telling of Emma). I liked the way Mr Woodhouse made his fortune (through an invention). We don’t see much of Mr Knightley and what we do see isn’t very compelling (or sexy) – I think if you didn’t know the original story, you would be surprised they ended up together. And finally, I didn’t like Emma. I thought she was mean-spirited. Austen’s Emma might have been a snob, but she was fundamentally good at heart.
More reviews …
Here is the blurb …
Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid has riveted millions of readers worldwide with her acutely suspenseful, psychologically complex, seamlessly plotted thrillers. In Northanger Abbey, she delivers her own, witty, updated take on Austen’s classic novel about a young woman whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance stirs her most macabre imaginings, with an extra frisson of suspense that only McDermid could provide.
Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A home-schooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels? A delectable, note-perfect modern update of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey tells a timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite angst of young love, and the value of friendship.
This update of Northanger Abbey works brilliantly. Cat thinks the Tilneys are vampires (too much Twilight maybe?), rather than discussing the picturesque they talk about cinematography and John Thorpe has a sports car – he is still a bore and a social climber.
I have been trying to work out why this modern version works better than the other books from the Austen project. Is it because the situation the heroine finds herself in is more universal than in Sense and Sensibility and Emma? Let’s face it Sense and Sensibility has important plot points that are hard to modernise – what man now days would stick with an engagement he didn’t like? And Elinor and Marianne could just get a job to generate an income.
Anyway, this is a fun, light-hearted take on an Austen novel. Enjoyable on several levels.
More reviews …
I bought this adaptation at the same time as this Sense and Sensibility. Once you get past the 1970s fashion (and hairstyles) it is a great adaptation. It follows the plot of the novel closely – although some bits are left out (like little Charles’s accident and Anne missing the dinner party). There is a lot of ‘projecting to the back row’ acting (particularly by Sir Walter), but I think that is more about direction and the style of acting at the time – it feels like theater rather than a naturalistic film.
This isn’t a beautiful adaptation and it is certainly showing its age, but still worth watching if you love Persuasion and its quiet tone.
I didn’t know about the existence of this adaptation until someone mentioned it in passing at one of our meetings. Of course I decided I must see it.
This is very much ‘old school’ BBC adaptation – filmed on a sound stage with theater actors who feel that they have to act to the back row (or maybe that was how they were directed?). Anyway, if you didn’t like this version of Emma or this Mansfield Park then I suspect you won’t like this version of Sense and Sensibility.
What I don’t understand with adaptations is why the screen writer changes the dialogue? This one is quite close to the novel action wise, but rarely uses Austen’s dialogue (although I am pretty sure Elinor wouldn’t visit Edward at his lodgings!).
The best part of this adaptation was Joanna David as Elinor (she was Mrs Gardiner in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice) and Patricia Routledge (Mrs Bucket – in Keeping Up Appearances) as Mrs Jennings.
The hair styles are hilarious (or horrendous) depending on your sensibilities …
I think this one is really only for die-hard Jane Austen fans or people interested in film history.
This is my third Mansfield Park adaptation. This one is movie length (120 minutes) like the 1999 version. As it is movie length, some things have to be left out – the trip to Sotherton and the Portsmouth scenes (instead of going to Portsmouth Fanny is left at Mansfield Park when the family go to London).
Once again, Fanny is more active than depicted by Austen and things seem to happen out of doors – instead of a ball there is a picnic. This is not my favourite version, but it is lovely to watch and sticks to the spirit of the plot if not the plot itself.
We never see the Parsonage in this version – in fact we only ever see Mansfield Park.
I remember when this film came out. It was very controversial and much outrage. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it.
However, I have changed my mind and this is now my favourite Mansfield Park adaptation. There are significant changes to some of the characters. Fanny is energetic, witty and a writer (in fact she appears to have written Austen’s juvenilia), Henry Crawford is much more sympathetically portrayed (Fanny accepts him in Portsmouth and then changes her mind) and Tom Bertram is not a hard-living elder son who spends too much money but is a young man haunted by demons.
This film is beautiful – the sets and the costumes are stunning. Also, it was quite ingenious to have the same actress play the roles of Lady Bertram and Mrs Price (Lindsay Duncan) because you can see what hard living (or marrying for love as she says) does to Mrs Price.
This film is more political than other Austen adaptations. Gender inequality, slavery, and family are all examined. If you are looking for a pretty period drama that focuses on romance, then this is probably not for you. I think this adaptation is true to the spirit of Austen’s novel, but takes it much further than Austen did.
More … (I think both of the links below a by the same author, but does such a great job of writing about Austen and in particular the adaptation that I couldn’t resist linking to both).