Category Archives: Adaptations

Mansfield Park BBC 1983

I have continued watching Mansfield Park and I have to say it grew on me – let’s face it it is not very pretty (although I read somewhere that it won a costume award), but it is closest to the novel.

As Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield write in Jane Austen in Hollywood about this adaptation

...Moreover, while we may know that Edmund Bertram is not particularly physically striking, do we really want his earnestly bad hair style thrust constantly on our vision?

The hair styles in this version are particularly bad – wait until you see Mr Yates!

Visit to Sotherton

Visit to Sotherton

Here they are on the visit to Sotherton. Mr Rushworth has forgotten the key and Maria and Mr Crawford sneak around the gate.

Practising the Play

Practising the Play

Rehearsals for Lover’s Vows – Mr Crawford and Maria are quite enthusiastic.

Now Frank Loves Fanny

Now Henry Loves Fanny

The Maria and Mr Rushworth are married and have left for their honeymoon taking Julia with them. Henry is bored and decides to pierce a small hole in Fanny’s heart.

Fanny is in Portsmouth

Fanny is in Portsmouth

Fanny is sent back to Portsmouth where it is hoped she will rethink her rejection of Frank’s proposal. This is Frank as his best – showing real concern for Fanny and treating her (awful) parents with courtesy and respect.PDVD_017MP83_FrankMaria

A chance encounter in London and Frank runs off with Maria – oops!

The Wedding

The Wedding

And finally Edmund realises he loves Fanny after all.

I think this is a very true adaptation and worth watching if you like Mansfield Park.

Next up the Patricia Rozema’s version


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Mansfield Park BBC 1983

1983 BBC Mansfield Park

1983 BBC Mansfield Park

As part of my year of Mansfield Park, I have been watching the 1983 BBC version. I’ve only watched one episode (the Crawfords have just arrived).

I don’t have a favourite Mansfield Park adaptation – this one is closest to the novel, but the production values are poor by which I mean it is not very pretty to look at!

I have only watched one episode, but I have to say it is growing on me – particularly the two leads they do seem well-suited to each other and to their parts. I suspect fashions in acting have changed in the past 30 years because to me there seems to be a lot of over acting, but I imagine that was how the actors were directed.

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Death Comes to Pemberley – T.V Series

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

So a brief respite from Mansfield Park I have been watching Death Comes to PemberleyFirst, I read the book and wasn’t that impressed. However, this adaptation is beautiful to watch and if I forget about it having anything to do with Pride and Prejudice it is quite enjoyable. If you get the chance to watch it, I think it is worth the effort.

I do wonder about Elizabeth’s green frocks – she only seems to wear green.

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Sense and Sensibility – JoannaTrollope

Sense and Sensibility - Joanna Trollope

Sense and Sensibility – Joanna Trollope

This is the first of the Austen Project novels.

Here is the blurb …

From one of the most insightful chroniclers of family life working in fiction today comes a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel of love, money, and two very different sisters

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate with Belle Dashwood’s daughters. When she descends upon Norland Park with her Romanian nanny and her mood boards, the three Dashwood girls-Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret-are suddenly faced with the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.

As they come to terms with life without the status of their country house, the protection of the family name, or the comfort of an inheritance, Elinor and Marianne are confronted by the cold hard reality of a world where people’s attitudes can change as drastically as their circumstances.

With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change.

This is a very faithful modernisation of the novel. All of the big events are present – losing Norland, moving to Devonshire, meeting Willoughby (who seems to be some sort of high end estate agent), Marianne almost dying (in this version she has asthma). What I have realised is how tricky it is to modernise Austen. Sex before marriage is completely acceptable, so for Willoughby to be  a cad he had to do something else and that something was drugs.

The characters are similar to Austen – Elinor (stoic and self – sacrificing), Marianne (still a drama queen). Edward (as wishy washy as ever), Fanny (more obviously mean in this one or perhaps just less polite),etc. Margaret is more fleshed out – quite the surly teenager. Bel (the mother – we can’t call her Mrs Dashwood because they weren’t married) is not how I think of Austen’s Mrs Dashwood. This one seems scatty and self-centred.

The flaw in trying to modernise Austen is the helpless women. Women are not helpless now days, so Bel should stop being flighty and go and get a job to support her children.

While I have been reading this I have been reading Sense and Sensibility to my daughters and I have enjoyed the comparison. It follows the plot, doesn’t add any characters or remove any plus there is a chance Marianne might escape Colonel Brandon! There is a hint of future romance, but they don’t end the novel married.

I can’t say this novel will appeal to all Austen fans, but I am glad that I read it and I shall read the next Austen Project installment, which I think is Northanger Abbey.

More reviews

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Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I have been watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – some what obsessively I might add.

The writers have done a great job of updating Pride and Prejudice for a modern audience.

Here is a link

to the entire play list. Or here it is …

There is also a new version of Emma called Emma Approved.


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Dear Mr Darcy – Amanda Grange

Dear Mr Darcy - Amanda Grange

Dear Mr Darcy – Amanda Grange

I found this novel while on holiday (at the local newsagent) how serendipitous. I was pleasantly surprised.

Here is the blurb …

In this imaginative retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Amanda Grange now tells the classic story through the eyes of its compelling romantic hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy – in a series of revealing letters that casts a sparkling new reflection on the manners and morals of the landed gentry in 19th-century England.

Here, for the first time, are the letters written by the exceedingly proud and stubborn Mr. Darcy, covering the life-changing events that defined him – from the death of his father, to his control of his Derbyshire estate of Pemberley to his conflicted courtship with the lively, intelligent, and delightfully willful Elizabeth Bennet. Try as he may, he cannot deny his attraction to this woman with fine eyes, a playful spirit, a mind of her own. and an embarrassing family that is frankly, and utterly, beneath him. But it is Elizabeth who controls both their destinies, and whose surprises will change Darcy’s life yet again.

It is an epistolary novel, which fills in the back story and Darcy’s perspective during the action of Pride and Prejudice. I thought Ms Grange captured the wicked Mr Wickham extremely well. There were extra characters added – Bingley had a mother, a brother (who worked in trade) and a whole raft of younger siblings and Mr Darcy had a cousin (Phillip Darcy). These characters  were really there to reveal a bit more about existing characters. For example, Caroline Bingley’s letters to her mother reveal her as the terrible snob she is – whereas Darcy’s to Phillip show him working through his feelings for Elizabeth. Mary’s letters to her friend and fellow Learned Women were hilarious – they’re reading The Mysteries of Udolpho and taking it seriously.

This is a quick light-hearted read, which will make you want to read Pride and Prejudice all over again.

More reviews…


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Pride and Prejudice 1980

I’ve been watching the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice.

DVD Cover Pride and Prejudice (1980)

The screen play was written by Fay Weldon and it stars Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth and David Rintoul as Mr Darcy.

I thought it would be a bit dated like this version of Emma…

DVD Cover Emma (1972)

however, it’s fine. The costumes and setting aren’t as beautiful as modern adaptations, but it is very watchable.

Elizabeth and Mr Darcy dancing at the Netherfield Ball

Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!

I like Fay Weldon’s screen play. The script is true to the spirit of the novel. She has the characters say things that the narrator expresses in the book. For example, the famous opening lines …

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Are expressed by Elizabeth while in conversation with Charlotte.

I thought the casting was good although I was a little but disappointed in David Rintoul’s Mr Darcy. He certainly looks the part – tall and handsome – and he does the proud disdainful stuff very well, but he doesn’t seem to change he still seems proud and disdainful at the end.

I think this adaptation is definitely worth watching (of course the 1995 adaptation is still my favourite). However, it is quite difficult to find. I eventually found a copy at

More reviews …






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From Prada to Nada

From Prada to Nada

From Prada to Nada


This was in the discount bin at JBHIFI and I definitely thought it was worth buying.

It is a modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility. This is from Wikipedia …

From Prada to Nada is an American romantic comedy film directed by Angel Garcia and produced by Gary Gilbert, Linda McDonough, Gigi Pritzker and Chris Ranta. The plot was conceived from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.[2] The screen play was adapted by Luis Alfaro, Craig Fernandez and Fina Torres to be a Latino version of the English novel, where two spoiled sisters who have been left penniless after their father’s sudden death are forced to move in with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles.

 I enjoyed it – it is light and entertaining (focussing on the romantic aspects of Austen). I didn’t find the romance between Edward and Nora (the Elinor character) to be very convincing – she had a ten year plan and was focused on her career because she felt (after both her parents had died) that was all she could count on and so rejected Edward’s advances (the Lucy character comes later).  The Mary (Marianne character) was probably handled a bit better – although Mary herself is an idle snob. The setting worked well – Beverley Hills to East LA is as big a shift as Norland to Barton Cottage.

It is probably not as good as Clueless (a modern retelling of Emma), but worth watching if you come across it while renting a DVD of perusing the TV Guide (i.e. don’t buy it).

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The History of Tom Jones

I’ve been watching The History of Tom Jones – it is hilarious – a pantomime for grown-ups. It reminds me of Austen’s juvenilia – definitely worth watching.

I’ll post again when I have watched it all.

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Sense and Sensibility 2008

I think this is my favourite Sense and Sensibility adaptation. I think Hattie Morahan is an excellent Elinor and Edward Ferrars, as played by Dan Stevens, isn’t drippy (you can understand why Elinor loves him). In fact, the male heroes (Brandon and Edward Ferrars) are both more appealing in this version. We get to see more of them and more emotional involvement. Andrew Davies tends to do this with most of his adaptations (think of Darcy diving into the lake).

It starts with Willoughby seducing Eliza – although we don’t know that at first. More astute viewers might recognise him later (and realise that he is a cad).

In this version Colonel Brandon and Marianne have a bit of a connection prior to Willoughby arriving on the scene – he lends her music and turns pages while she plays it.

There is also a scene where Brandon asks Willoughby about his intentions – are they honourable?

This production is beautiful – the costumes, locations etc are just stunning.

First view of Barton Cottage

Elinor, Marianne and Mrs Dashwood

Willoughby rescuing Marianne

Edward Ferrars chopping wood

Lucy and Anne Steele

Elinor and Lucy

Colonel Brandon and Marianne

Elinor and Edward

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